Irish Student Newspaper of the Year 2009
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SURFING IRELAND TRAVEL, P20
TN2 SPECIAL FEATURE
Tuesday December 1 2009
PETER SUTHERLAND INTERVIEW
Issue 6, Volume 56
Union stages Library sit-in Boo
cMo es M
Conor Sullivan Staff Reporter The Students’ Union held a sit-in in the Library over the weekend to protest at cuts in library services. Sixty students occupied the Berkeley Library from closing time on Saturday for twenty hours in protest at cuts in the Library budget and reductions in opening hours. Library accounts for 2008/09 show that the budget for buying books fell by €650,000, a fall of 34%; that funding from College for items other than pay fell by €400,000 (15%); and that the pay bill rose by €500,000 (6%) in that year. The accounts, which were released by the Students’ Union, imply that the Library cut book purchases by a third to pay for wage increases for staff. Since the start of the year the Library has stopped opening on Sundays. Library opening hours in Trinity are the second worst in the country at 71.5 hours per week. The national average is 80 hours and the highest in the country is University College Dublin, whose Library is open over 100 hours per week. The Students’ Union is campaigning for opening hours to be brought up to the national average and for budget cuts to be reversed. The College said that the Library has tried to “protect the acquisiton of books”. According to the College, the apparent budget cut is because the previous year saw major purchases of books for research collections that were funded from “Library generated income”, and that the actual decrease in book buying that support teaching was €29,000 (3%). The SU has been in negotiation with the College over the cuts but claim College are unwilling to budge and denied the existence of budget cuts. Meetings with the Vice-Provost last week were repeatedly postponed at short notice and reportedly left SU representatives fuming. The HEA have said that the €600 increase in the Registration Fee can be used to fund Library and Information services, but the Vice-Provost ignored this in negotiations, according to the SU. They say they are “extremely frustrated” and “perplexed at how College is refusing to
listen”. Ó’Broin says they are “showing that this is a major issue and that its not going away” with the protest. Figures released by College show that the non-pay funding for the Library has fallen by 25% over the last three years, and that 90% of this funding is spent on books that support student teaching and periodicals. Spending on books that support student teaching has fallen by 10% since 2007, a fall of €100,000. The spokeswoman says these cuts are linked to cuts in government funding and are “on a par with those received in all administrative and service areas”. The College has said that the Pay and Non-Pay budgets for the Library are seperate. The increases in pay for Library staff are due to “national pay agreements, normal salary progession and provision for liabilities arising from the Fixed Term Workers Act” and that College has no control over these. Sunday opening was only ever on a trial basis, according to College, and the Sunday opening in Hilary term 2009 was funded from the book budget. The College says that only 0.5% of, or 750, students used the library on a Sunday. The SU dispute these figures, saying that College used the lowest statistic from all the Sundays where the Library was open, during the Easter holiday. The sit-in started half an hour from closing time (4pm) on Saturday when 60-70 students occupied the lobby in the Berkeley library with banners and posters reading “Books not cuts”, “pages not wages” and “save trinity library”. The protesters brought large quantities of food and water as well as sleeping bags, Ipod speakers, Board Games, DVDs and Laptops. One protestor, Barra Roantree, a JS Economics student, said they were staying until “’til demands are met, the hostages are all executed or 24 hours .. the last most likely”. The reaction of Library staff ranged from amicable to confused to hostile. “If we could bring over the flatscreen from the Old Library it’d be great, we could watch the match” said one security guard, while another said “we’ve called Pat [Morey, Head of Security], you’re in trouble now”. Most felt that the students Continued on page 2
Victory for GSU Claire Acton Staff Reporter BOTH THE Students’ Union and the Graduate Student’s Union have managed to reach an agreement which Union President Cónán Ó’Bróin claims will “solidify their relationship for the future”. The vital talks, which were held predominantly to deal with the issue of funding, left both parties satisfied with the outcome. They have come to an agreement to share resources to guarantee the Graduate Student’s Union a second full-time sabbatical officer and admin support. GSU President Ronan Hodson is adamant to stress that there has not been a creation of new resources but simply an expansion of the resources presently there. The GSU have recently spoken out about their funding, warning that if the matter is not resolved by the end of the year, they would be forced to split from the Students’ Union. Both unions are members of and funded through the Capitations Committee which comprises of three other bodies, the Publications committee, Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC) and Central Societies
Committee (CSC). According to Hodson, the level of funding they have received in the last five years has not changed even though the number of postgraduates has risen to 5000. This resulted in the GSU rocking in an unstable position. Students’ Union Education Officer Ashley Cooke stated that the decision “to help the GSU support two sabbatical officers on an ongoing basis will, we believe, be to the benefit of all Trinity’s students and will allow the GSU to focus on the important issues that postgraduate students face”. The agreement runs on a three year trial but Hodson is hopeful that it will solidify, saying he “envisages that it will become a permanent arrangement”. With the reallocation of funds, the GSU are now more financially secure and have no future plans to split from the Students’ Union. They each remain two separate independent bodies previous to the agreement. However, postgraduates ae eligible to membership and are thus represented by both unions. Hodson hails the negotiations as a “massive achievement” including getting the Capitation bodies to change its funding. The drive for change has been an accumulation of efforts from the GSU in the past five years.
Education Officer Ashley Cooke, flanked by fellow protesters inside the Berkeley library. Photo: Martin McKenna
College plans 3000 increase in student body by 2014 Clara Andrews Staff Reporter THE COLLEGE plans to increase the number of students by 15% to 18 000. This is just one of the many aims the College has set themselves as laid out in the Strategic Plan 2009-2014. The new plan will build upon the achievements of the previous plan which saw the College place 43rd in the Times Higher Education and make gains in research and graduate education. The previous plan also saw the historic restructuring of the College’s academic units and terms. The new plan hopes to focus transforming graduate education, consolidate strengths in the areas of research and scholarship, and promote knowledge transfer. The plan also proposes several alliances which would be very exciting for the college’s future, and in obtaining recognition worldwide. Trinity says of the plan: “This strategic plan sets out how we will
further strengthen the performance of Trinity College- how we will establish its position as one of the elite group of universities that shape our world.” Under the plan the college hopes to increase student numbers by 15% to 18 000 while maintaining the college’s current student to staff ratio. Trinity also hopes to make improvements in the area of undergraduate education. This will involve the implementation of a new modularised course curriculum, allowing for greater choice for students. In addition the college hopes to increase access of underrepresented groups of students. In the area of graduate education, Trinity intends to make changes to facilitate a more “creative, innovative and entrepreneurial postgraduate”. To meet the objectives outlined in the plan, the college will be developing three key collaborations. These will include the launch of the TCD-UCD Innovation Academy. This is a research partnership which the two universities have said has
the potential to develop 300 companies and thousands of jobs. Taoiseach Brian Cowen said that the project would attract international interest and establish Ireland as a research base. Trinity also hopes to create an Academic Medical Centre together with the Adelaide and Meath Hospital Dublin. Furthermore the College intends to collaborate with other institutions to promote Dublin “We will establish Trinity as one of the elite group of universities that shape our world”
as an international city of learning, culture and innovation. Besides these collaboration projects Trinity aims to undergo several major development programmes “to underpin objectives for internationally competitive research and education”. These will include the Biosciences Institute, The Trinity Long Room Hub for the Humanities, and the
Student Centre. The College intends to take a “two-phased approach” to strategic planning- the new plan sets out the goals and targets for the university and a detailed implementation plan will follow, setting out the steps required to achieve these objectives. In the current economic climate the targets of the strategic plan are sure to present certain challenges. To fund the goals and objectives laid out in the plan the college says it will need to expand its resource base. The Provost, Dr John Hegarty, said the college hoped increased philanthropy, more international students and greater commercial activity would fund the expansion. He commented that “it is critical that public investment in education, research and innovation is maintained, in order to sustain the phenomenal achievements of Ireland in these areas to date, and to drive future success and to ensure a medium to long term return.”
Investigation to probe fees Conor Sullivan Staff Reporter Trinity College students are already paying tuition fees, according to internal College accounts. The government cut funding to the University and its response was to increase the Registration Fee to make up the difference. This practice will now be placed under Government scrutiny as the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Government Spending Watchdog, made a commitment last Thursday to the Dáil Public Accounts Committee to launch a full investigation into the Fee and how it is spent in Trinity, according to a Students’ Union spokesman. The Fee for 2008/09 was €900 but
a breakdown of the figures show that only €640.20 (72%) per student was spent on what the Government and the College claim the Fee is intended for, with the remainder compensating for cuts in the core teaching grant from the Government. €537.25 per student was spent on student services in 2008/09 from the €900 Fee. The Fee is meant to provide for the cost of Registration, Examinations, Careers Advice, Counselling, the Health Centre, Grants to Student Organisation such as the SU, Societies, Sports Clubs and Publications (including Trinity News), and other services to students. The HEA said there are no formal rules on how the funds from the registration fee, which currently stands at €1,500,
should be spent. There is a “framework of good practice” which lays out how the funds should be allocated among student services and calls for “transparency and accountability”, but is silent on whether the Fee can be spent on anything other than Student Services. The documents were released by the SU President Cónán Ó’Broin, who said that “the Government and the HEA have been justifying Registration Fee increases by claiming they pay for student services, but this is simply not the case. People need to be aware that only a small fraction actually goes to services that directly benefit students.” “We need accountability and transparency in how Registration Fees are spent. In the current climate where
value for money is essential, students and parents deserve better than a Minister lying to them.” The SU are now bringing their case to Dáil Éireann; Ó’Broin to the Chair of the Oireachtas Education Committee, Paul Gogarty TD, to accuse the Minister of Education of being “either wilfully ignorant of this situation, or else has been deliberately misleading the public. Neither incompetence nor duplicity are characteristics that inspire confidence in the administration of our education system.” The Minister is on record as saying the Fee is charged solely to provide student services. Last week NUI Senator Ronan continued on page 3
COLLEGE NEWS ““I’ve just discovered my fly is open” Bill Night, halfway through his appearance at the Players’ Theatre
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
THIS FORTNIGHT THEY SAID...
“‘Til demands are met, the hostages are all executed or 24 hours ... the last most likely ” Protester Barra Roantree’s response when asked when would the Students’ Union protest most likely end.
“irrelevant and prejudicial” NUI Maynooth President Professor John Hughes’ defence of his appointment as visiting professor, Bertie Ahern. Critics describe the decision as “beggars belief”, for his role in “squandering the unanticipated riches of the celtic tiger era”.
Compiled by Lisa Byrne and Kate Palmer “rude and aggressive”, with a “cocky and arrogant attitude” The Star newspaper’s description of the student questioned for having a mobile phone found on his possession while volunteerting at Mount Joy. The Gardaí have since declared this statement to be untrue.
“small but quality” The student description of the School of Business following the announcement that it was the best School of Business in the country.
NUMEROLOGY Compiled by Lisa Byrne
15% » The increase in the number of students the College hopes to admit according to the recent Strategic Plan
1 » The Irish ranking of the School of Business in the EDUNIVERSAL Top 100 Business Schools
3 » The number of female Trinity Engineers who have won the prestigious ‘Young Women in Engineering’ scholarship award
€1,500 » The current registration fee in the College
€521.09 » The actual amount spent on student services
CORRECTION In the section “He said, she said” of November 17, it was stated that the number of class reps have fallen this year. This is incorrect; numbers have in fact risen.
Photographs: College News: National News: International News: News Features: Features: Opinion: World Review: Travel: Business: Science: College Sport: TN2 Editor: Film: Music: Fashion: Books: Theatre: Art: Food and Drink:
“Books not cuts” continued from page 1 had “every right” to protest, in particular since library and security staff were on strike five days beforehand. A senior librarian had several testy exchanges with students, reportedly telling one “well you were stupid [to support it]” to one student who said “we supported your strike”. Assistant Junior Dean Joe O’Gorman arrived on the scene around 5pm followed shortly after by the Junior Dean, Dr. Emma Stokes. An initial angry exchange saw Stokes telling the SU President that she “would have appreciated some notice” and that the sit-in was “very inconvienient” for College staff, a complaint which was met with derision from some of the protesters. “It would kind of defeat the point to give advance notice” said one Junior Freshman. Following this relations became “quite amicable” according to Ó’Broin. Protesters were cordoned off in the centre of the library
away from the books and reading rooms and were allowed to come and go for hot food and smoking breaks. Shortly afterwards Stokes, the College official in charge of student discipline, gave a verbal committment there would be no disciplinary action against students for taking part in the protest, though this was not absolute it was predicated on no damage taking place, for example. Stokes requested that a list of names and ID numbers of all the students involved in the protest be given to Security for health and safety reasons. The Students’ Union refused and instead offered that they would make a list of everyone involved but not hand it over. A sabbatical officer would hold the list and sit with a security guard who would be posted on the library through the night, and keep note of who was present and who had left. The protest ended around 12pm on Sunday.
“Climate Change undermines the enjoyment of Human Rights and threatens progress across the world” Trinity Chancellor and former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson , urging world leaders to remember the impact climate damage is having on third world countries ahead of the forthcoming climate change conference in Copenhagen.
INSIDE THE SIT-IN Emma Keaveney University Times OF COURSE, words like ‘occupation’, ‘protest’ and ‘sit-in’ have certain connotations. Images of students in May 1968 storming Parisien universities may spring to mind. However, the reality was less a storming than a gentle take-over. The students at the occupation took their places just after 3pm, sitting on the floor of the orientation space. Letters from the Union were handed to library staff informing them of the sit-in and asking for their co-operation. Most of the library staff were co-operative. It was noted numerous times that the security staff who had to work in shifts for the night were very friendly, with smiles for the students all round. “You’ll miss The X Factor!” one joked. Laughs all round. Assistant Junior Dean Joe O’ Gorman met with sabbatical officers in the lobby at a quarter to five, stressing that
his main concern was for the safety of those involved. Fifteen minutes later the Junior Dean, Emma Stokes, arrived and promised that no student would be punished for taking part in the occupation which she claimed to support wholeheartedly. Overall, the atmosphere on the night was subdued and restrained but a sense of innocent fun reigned, with the most raucous laughter of the whole night coming from a game of Monopoly. Students were aware of the reason they were in the Library for the first place – it wasn’t for a party. This sit-in was about capturing the attention of both college authorites and the student population at large and showing them that this is an issue that students are genuinely concerned about. Whtever happens next in the campaign to improve library facilities for students remains to be seen. However, I think it’s fair to say that this was a good first step in the right direction.
DECISION OF THE PRESS OMBUDSMAN
ALESSIO FRENDA AND TRINITY NEWS THE PRESS Ombudsman has decided to uphold a complaint made by Mr Alessio Frenda about an article published in the online pdf archive edition of Trinity News. COMPLAINT MR FRENDA complained that the recent addition of an article about him to the online pdf archive edition of Trinity News – an article about which he had complained when first published in print in early 2008 when he was President of the Graduate Students’ Union– was a breach of Principle 1.1 (Truth and
Accuracy). He said that the article contained a statement attributing certain actions to him that was neither true nor accurate. Although Trinity News agreed that the actions attributed to Mr Frenda in the article had – as the complainant asserted – been made by a committee of the Graduate Students’ Union for which he had not been responsible at the time, it argued that he had defended that Union’s actions and had thereby associated himself with them. It stated that Mr Frenda had been offered a clarification at the time of publication of the printed version of the paper, that the article in question was clearly satirical, and that the passage of time since publication of the printed version
of the article made the complaint unreasonable. DECISION THE USE of a term implying the possible misallocation of funds is not – even in a university magazine – a matter of satire, and the republication of such a statement, by way of digital archiving, raises a new issue which might not have arisen otherwise. Republishing the statement by way of digital archiving, as Mr Frenda himself noted, puts the statement in the public domain and permanently available to a global readership. In the circumstances, the view of the Press Ombudsman is that Trinity News should have afforded Mr Frenda an opportunity either to
correct or to add to the digital archive by way of clarification in such a way as to prevent the continuing inadvertent republication of an incorrect statement about him. The complaint under Principle 1.1 is therefore upheld. THE PRESS Ombudsman decided not to uphold a number of other alleged breaches of the Code of Practice about the same article. The full decision can be accessed at www.pressombudsman.ie.
HE SAID, SHE SAID...
INFORMATION Editor: Deputy Editor: Website: Business Manager: Copy Editors:
“to adequately discourage any candidate from breaking rules.” Education Officer Ashley Cooke on the reasons behind the re-drafting of the sabbatical campaign rules.
David Molloy Aoife Crowley Tom Lowe Jennifer Finn John Colthurst Aoife Fleming Bina Dangol Eleanor Friel Tess O’Leary Cal McDonagh Yuliya Bespala, Jean Morley Lisa Byrne, Kate Palmer Fearghus Roulston James Coghill, Stuart Winchester Hugh Taylor, Peter Martin Charles Baker, Sarah Fulham Claire Brett, Shane Quinn Grace Walsh, Paul McDonnell James Lee, Ralph Marnham Jason Somerville, Lisa Keenan John Engle Paul Galbraith, Alexandra Finnegan Michael Armstrong Rebecca Long, Alex Towers Verity Simpson, Karl McDonald Patrice Murphy, Ana Kinsella Niall O’Brien, Cillian Murphy Rachel Parker, Jamie Leptien Theresa Ryan, Aisling Deng Kara Furr, Kiera Healy
All Trinity News staff can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Trinity News is funded by a grant from DU Publications Committee. This publication claims no special rights or privileges. Serious complaints should be addressed to: The Editor, Trinity News, 6 Trinity College, Dublin 2. Appeals may be directed to the Press Council of Ireland. Trinity News is a full participating member of the Press Council of Ireland and supports the Office of the Press Ombudsman. This scheme, in addition to defending the freedom of the press, offers readers a quick, fair and free method of dealing with complaints that they may have in relation to articles that appear on our pages. To contact the Office of the Press Ombudsman go to www.pressombudsman.ie
Compiled by Jean Morley
DO YOU THINK THE COLLEGE ACCOUNTS SHOULD BE MADE MORE READILY ACCESSIBLE TO STUDENTS?
ANDREW HAYDEN SS TSM ENGLISH AND PSYCHOLOGY
“Yes, if the universities in the country are as broke as they claim, they shouldn’t be reticent about which college services are bing short-changed (pun intended) and where and how the money is being spent. If I give my brother Alan a ten euro book voucher I’d like to know what he’s buying and that he’s not getting Dickens, or some nonsense with it.”
KATE FERGUSON SS TSM ENGLISH AND PSYCHOLOGY “Yes, however the next time I wander down to a drink reception and grab a free bottle of Miller to accompany my finger food I might have to question my own priorities on where college spending goes.”
DAVE DONOGHUE JS TSM FRENCH AND ART HISTORY “Yes they should definitely be public. Just like when you buy something in a shop you are entitled to a receipt and a breakdown of
5 what you’re buying.”
CAROLYN KELLY SS TSM ART HISTORY AND HISTORY
“I think accounts should definitely be made public. I’m actually surprosed they aren’t already. 1500 euro per person is a huge amount of money –students have the right to know how it’s spent.” COLM O’GRIOFA JS ENGLISH AND PHILOSOPHY
“This college business is a complete
6 pain in the hole- by that I mean the hole down which my money seems to be disappearing. I wouldn’t mind paying if the money went towards the betterment of the college, but the administration here is a shambles. It doesn’t surprise me that they can’t account for the money, they probably lost it on a horse”.
DOMINIC BOYD JF MEDICINE
“Yes I do. It’s scandalous and prepostourous.”
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
Student’s mobile phone causes furore
Brian Barry Staff Reporter A TRINITY student was arrested and taken for questioning by Gardaí, having been caught with a mobile phone in Mountjoy Prison, while taking part in the Trinity College St Vincent de Paul Prison
Football programme. He was shortly released without charge. Despite a damning report in the Daily Star newspaper as to the student’s conduct, Stephen O’Flynn, organiser of the Prison Football programme, played down the incident on November 12th, telling Trinity News that the questioning was
“standard procedure”, and that the student fully co-operated with both Prison authorities and the Gardaí. The Daily Star reported that the Senior Freshman Medicine student was “cocky, arrogant, rude, and aggressive” to prison security staff, which led to his arrest by Gardaí. However, O’Flynn said that the Daily Star’s report was “misrepresentative” of what happened, and that authorities at Mountjoy Prison contacted him to say that the article “reflected neither the facts of the situation, nor the views of the prison officers”. A “source” for the Daily Star claimed that the student, when asked by security staff, repeatedly denied having a mobile phone, and that he was “rude and aggressive” when an “iPhone” was found in his bag. The “source” then went on to describe how the student only had his “cocky and arrogant attitude” to blame for his subsequent arrest and questioning at nearby Mountjoy Garda Station. O’Flynn told Trinity News that it was, in
fact, an old, broken mobile phone, left mistakenly at the bottom of the student’s bag. He also said that he was personally with the student at the security point and that he was “completely co-operative at all times”. Although the Daily Star reported that the student could be fined or jailed or both as a result of the incident. Prison authorities confirmed to O’Flynn that no charges would be pressed against the student. New regulations were introduced two years ago by former Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, to crack down on the use of mobile phones in Irish prisons after convicted criminal John Daly infamously called RTE’s radio show, ‘Liveline’, from a mobile phone in a cell in Portlaoise Prison. O’Flynn told Trinity News that there was no lasting damage from the incident.“The activity maintains a good relationship with Mountjoy Prison, and as such, it is continuing as usual” he said.
Students have Wale of a time at Jimbo’s Chrimbo appearance Eamonn Bell Staff Reporter Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales, the co-founder of the online collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia visited the College last Friday to receive a patronage from the University Philosophical Society. Introducing Wales, Andrew Curran, President of the Phil, described him as the man behind the online encyclopedia that has undoubtedly helped many a Trinity student with their coursework. The American internet entrepreneur spoke about his own life and his role in the genesis of Wikipedia and the revolution in knowledge it fomented. Born in Alabama, the American internet entrepreneur founded the free, widely-used internet encyclopedia in 2001 with American philosophy doctorate Larry Sanger. This project was to take advantage of developments in Internet technology that allowed the ordinary web surfer to submit their content transparently to any site following this new ‘wiki’ model. Wikipedia is, by its taxonomy, “the free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit”. Wales and Sanger were initially sceptical of the integrity of the project, but soon after its establishment, a self-moderating core of contributors converged on the website and their number began increasing exponentially. Now Wikipedia is the 7th most-viewed single website in Ireland, according to the Alexa ranking engine, and boasts over 3.1 million English articles a figure increasing rapidly every single day. Wikipedia also has 268 non-English language incarnations, in steady fulfillment of Wales’ selfaffirmed goal, “to create and distribute a free
encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language.” Despite this impressive standing, Wales talked of the need to expand the contributor base beyond the stereotypical 20-something-year-old male geek, in order to develop a comprehensive encyclopedia representative of society as a whole. Mr. Wales went on to describe the altruistic goals of the Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit organisation charged with the running of Wikipedia and its sister projects. He spoke of the need to develop internet infrastructure in countries that do not show such high internet access rates, in order that they be given equal access to the growing sum of knowledge. He also spoke of how Wikipedia-like sites can effect real social change, citing the example of his local homeless aid group in Tampa Bay, Florida which runs Wiki software in order to keep volunteers in the loop. A question from the floor sought Wales’ response to the fact that some 12 months ago a ban on editing Wikipedia articles from all Trinity College network computers was placed by the administration of Wikipedia. Wales replied, ‘That was unfortunate, but when a group of vandals consistently use the same IP address, there is often no other option but to ban that IP address.’ Trinity internet users appear as similar ‘IP adresses’ when they access online services, and this led to the campus-wide implication of the administrative ban. It has emerged that ban has been lifted within the last few days, and College members can now fully contribute to the project as before.
Mullins raised the issue in the Seanad with a parliamentary question to Minister Batt O’Keefe on the issue; and it was also raised in the Dáil Public Accounts Committee last Thursday. The Comptroller and Auditor General gave a committment during the meeting to launch an investigation into how the Registration Fee is spent in Irish Universities. Brian Hayes TD is set to raise the issue again in the Dáil today. A College spokeswoman confirmed that “as informed by the HEA, a significant proportion of the increase in the student charge in 2002 and 2008 was intended to secure savings to the exchequer ... since the core grants were reduced by the additional income generated from the increased charge.” College also said that it “has engaged proactively by making this information available each year to the student body thorugh its representatives at Committee and Board level”. At the Board meeting last year that approved the 66% increase from €900 to €1500 in the Registration Fee, then SU president Cathal Reilly is on record as having asked for the Fee to be ringfenced to pay for Student Services and not to help reduce the College’s deficit. The record of the meeting states “a number of Board members stated that the manner of increasing the student charge for 2009/10 was tantamount to the introduction of tuition fees and expressed their dissatisfaction at the manner in which this was being done.” One university president, Ferdinand von Prondzynski of Dublin City University, agrees. He argues that the Fee could be “Tuition Fees by the backdoor” and that “in the general setting of budget cuts and operational restrictions on universities, it is difficult for any of us to turn down this charge. And yet I have been and am uneasy about it. It helps us all to fudge the issue of funding and to kick real solutions ahead of us.” The comments were made on his blog, Diary of a University President.
A spokesman from the Department of Education and Science declined to state what the Government position is on higher education institutions charging tuition fees except to add that before the increase to €1,500 this year the charge didn’t fully pay for all student services and so they were partly funded from the core teaching grant. The increase this year was intended by the Government to bring the amount contributed by students more into line with the cost of providing student services in the institutions, according to the spokesman. Tuition fees were abolished in 1994 in a bid to widen access to third level education. A Registration Fee was introduced to pay for registration, examinations, and services to students. The fee now stands at €1,500, up from €190 (£150) when it was first introduced fifteen years ago, a rise of 440% in addition to inflation. The Government had intended to reintroduce tuition fees up until recently, until the Green Party won a committment to “not proceed with any new scheme of student contribution to Third Level Education” in the revised Programme for Government last October.
HOW THE REGISTRATION FEE OF €900 PER STUDENT WAS SPENT IN 2008/09
PROFESSOR AWARDED “BEST IN CLASS” PROFESSOR IGOR Shvets of the School of Physics has been announced as the winner of the Best in Class award during the 2009 Industrial Technologies Commercialisation Awards in Dublin. His award was due in part to his successful 3D imaging research that can measure skin damage, benefitting both cosmetic and demotological practises. The Best in Class award is an annual award made presented to a researcher who has shown both scientific excellence and an awareness of industry needs. Prof. Shvets will receive a bursary of €8,000 from Enterprise Ireland. This bursary can be used to further his research and development of commercialable products. Two of Prof. Shvets’ colleagues from the School of Physics were also recognised for their research. Dr Roman Kantor and Dr Guido Mariotto, both of whom worked with Professor Shvets in the development of the 3D imaging device, were recognised licensing agreement with Miravex, a spin out campus company. and subsequent licensing agreement with Miravex. Lisa Byrne
SOCIETY CHRISTMAS FUNDRAISER Jimmy Wales speaks to the Philosophical Society last week. Photo: Daniel Wu Wales spoke of the problem of vandalism and inaccuracy saying that people who take part in these activities fail to contribute in a meaningful way to the discourse he aims to inspire, but that he believes that the internet is, on balance, a good and productive social space. Responding to reports of a recent academic study by the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid that Wikipedia was haemorrhaging contributing editors, Wales’ disputed the way in which user statistics were interpreted by the researchers and claimed that the number of truly active Wikipedians remains roughly static. Mr. Wales is confident of the survival of the project and of the fulfillment of his personal aims.
In a 2004 interview Wales outlined his vision for Wikipedia: “Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.” Five years later, Wikipedia is stronger, more comprehensive and more reliable, and its cofounder is refreshingly and genuinely optimistic. Wikipedia is in safe hands, and remains an equally valuable - if sometimes unreliable - resource to the casually curious member of the public and the College student frustrated by the impeding deadline of yet another essay.
Reg fee scrutinised Business School continued from page 1
top in Ireland John Callaghan Staff Contributor Trinity College Dublin has emerged as Ireland’s foremost university in yet another academic ranking table. The EDUNIVERSAL Top 100 Business Schools list ranks Trinity as the best in Ireland. The ranking, which assesses postgraduate schools of business from 153 countries, placed Trinity’s School of Business as first in Ireland, 15th in Europe, and 21st in the world. Dr. Gerard McHugh, Head of the School of Business, said, ‘We are delighted that the School’s efforts continue to be ranked amongst the world’s global elite and we will continue to focus our energies into ensuring Trinity’s School of Business remains a centre of excellence both in Ireland and abroad.’ EDUNIVERSAL is a resource tool created for students and employers alike, identifying the best Business Schools in nine geographical zones, and compiling a list of the Global Top 100. Harvard Business School scooped the top-spot on the list which was scored by a combination of peer reviews from the Deans of 1,000 business schools worldwide, accreditation obtained by the schools, reputed studies undertaken by the schools, and results from other main classifications. This year has seen Trinity moved up two positions, from 23rd, closely rivalling the London School of Economics, in 20th place, and just ahead of HEC Montreal, in 22nd place. Second in Ireland was UCD’s Smurfit Business School, which also ranked well internationally as 21st in Europe and
40th in the world, a fall by 2 places from last year. Speaking to Trinity News this week, Professor Brian Lucey, Associate Professor of Finance in Trinity’s School of Business, said “This result proves that the opinion that we need one big Business School in Ireland is nonsense.” He continued, “The ‘bigger is better’ approach is foolish. We already have two world class schools in this country, and they are setting the bar for the other Irish Universities to follow.” Five other Irish Business Schools were included in the best 1,000, although none earned a ranking on the Top 100 list. There was a general consensus among students currently enrolled in the School at Trinity that this was a well deserved result for a “small but quality” department. “It’s also great for students in the School as we can now approach employers feeling confident that our qualifications are recognised as world class. And it reaffirms Trinity’s position as the top University in the country,” said one MSc Finance student. While celebrating the good news, Professor Lucewy did, however, raise some concerns regarding investment in the Social Sciences arena. “It is somewhat frustrating to see the huge investments in bio- and techno- specialities, with so little being pumped into research in social sciences. Ireland has several world class players in this area, who need only a fraction of the investment being placed in science and engineering. More investment in social sciences and humanities would produce real value for money,” he said. Alumni of the School include Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary and British Airway’s Willie Walsh.
THE TRINITY Fringe Festival held by DU Players and Comedy will take place from the 7th until the 12th of December. The annual event held in aid of St. Vincent De Paul, showcases the best in both amateur and professional theatre, comedy and music. Over 50 different acts will take to the stage this year held in the grounds of the College. Irish comedian Ardal O’Hanlon will headline the festival, along with awardwinning sketch group Dead Cat Bounce and the stars of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2009 Frisky and Mannish. The Dublin University Orchestral Society will also perform. Each day will feature three music gigs, two productions and two comedy gigs, showcasing some of the most established names in entertainment along with some of best emerging ones and the Santa’s Grotto of the festival run in aid of the St.Vincent De Paul Society. Ticket prices range from €5-€10 and can be booked via phone on (01)8962242. For ticket bookings and festival information: www. trinityfringefestival.com Lisa Byrne SUBMISSIONS
FORESIGHT CALLING FOR SUBMISSION Foresight Business Group are calling all students interested in taking part in the 38th issue of the “Foresight Business Journal” to submit their business related articles. Having an article published in the “Foresight Business Journal” is not only an excellent opportunity for all students, it is also considered an academic achievement to be recognised in such a prestigious Journal. The Journal will be launched at the Trinity Term Business Breakfast 2010. All articles should be sent to the following email email@example.com Lisa Byrne
SHORT CUTS EXHIBITION
SCIENCE GALLERY TO LAUNCH ‘NANOWEEK’ THE SCIENCE Gallery will be celebrating ‘Nanoweek’ next week. Nanoscience, or nanotechnology, is a form of science where materials are studied at very small dimensions of less than 100 nanometres. One nanometre is one billionth of a metre. To put into context, a human hair is 50,000 nanometres in width. Electronic and pharmaceutical companies are now using nanoscience in what the Silicon Republic claim could bring about a “consumer and business revolution we have only dreamed about until now”. Among the many attractions at the exhibition, visitors will be able to sample some “nano icecream” from the Gallery’s custom van parked beside the building. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet the researchers behind the science, book an appointment with a Principal Investigator from CRANN, listen to researchers pitch their ideas to potential investors and join in a debate about whether nanoscience can help with the current financial crisis, among other activities. ‘Nanoweek’ runs from Monday November 30 until Friday December 4 in the Science Gallery located beside the sports centre. Lisa Byrne
COLLEGE GIVE BACK MAORI HEADS LAST WEDNESDAY, November 25, saw the university return the mummified human remains of the Maori people to representatives at a private ceremony in the college. The three mummified human heads and one skeleton had been in the possession of Trinity since at least the mid nineteenth century. At that time, the heads were used as trading items between the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, and Europeans. “Europeans were very curious about these, and wanted to collect them as curios,” said Paul Glacken, head of the Department of Anatomy, on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme. “So an exchange began, often for muskets, which the Maori then used to fight their neighbours.” The Maori may have deliberately mummified the heads of enemy tribes in order to sell them in this way, despite the fact that mummification was usually reserved for relatives, as a mark of respect, Glacken said. “Those remains were all kept in storage. In the case of the heads, they were kept in a secure part, not visible to the public or anyone in the department,” he said. “We were all aware that these items were present in the department, but none of us were aware of the cultural sensitivity surrounding them.” These remains were the last of their type known to be in Ireland. The private ceremony included a traditional ritual, and will be followed by another upon their safe arrival in New Zealand.
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
College strikes prove controversial ›› Students told that all lectures and laboratories in College cancelled ›› USI President urges students nationwide to support strikes Kate Palmer Deputy News Editor COLLEGE GROUND to a standstill last week as hundreds of Trinity staff took part in a nationwide boycott. Despite sacrificing a day’s pay and disrupting most student services, they were among the quarter of a million protesting against government proposals to reduce public sector pay. Lectures and laboratory sessions were cancelled as almost all 2,676 staff members decided to say “no way to low pay”. Students were unable to gain access to the Library, Sport Centre, Catering Service, ISS Helpdesk and administrative services. The 24hour computer room remained open, however, and students entering College were able to cross the picket line unhindered. Chief Operating Officer Tony McMahon says due to the “widespread
disruption” of the strike, the College was forced to remain closed. “Professional advice tells us that the risk to health and safety is unacceptably high,” says McMahon. Tutorial and Seminar Assistants were left in the dark as to whether to hold class meetings, many of which were cancelled just the previous day. Whilst some strikers decided to spend the day off shopping in Newry, most were rallying on the streets of Dublin, According to Mike Jennings, “singling out teachers and public sector workers is unacceptable” picketing outside Leinster House and Trinity College. Senator for Dublin University Ivana Bacik expressed her support for the strikers and trade union
staff, and did not cross the picket line across Leinster House “on principle, and out of solidarity”. Essential student services such as College Health and Student Counselling remained open for “cases requiring urgent assistance”, according to McMahon. College residents were inconvenienced by the ban on overnight guest arrangements on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24, as issued by the Registrar of Chambers Dr Emma Stokes. Meanwhile, in University College Dublin, buildings and services remained open despite the staff shortage. Although the day of action saw a picket line of protestors, students were able to gain access to the Belfield campus. Plans for a university-wide boycott in University College Cork, however, were cut short due to flood damage which has destroyed lecture halls and student houses after the river Lee burst its banks.
Students’ Union Education Officer Ashley Cooke says he believes “Trinity handled the strike in a competent manner”, complimenting the College for “working well to make sure services for residents on-campus were available”. When asked if the strikes were fair on the students they affect, Cooke comments: “Prior to the strike the Students’ “Trinity handled the strike in a competent manner”, says Ashley Cooke Union spoke to teacher unions to make sure students experienced minimum disruption on the day”. The Union of Students in Ireland openly expresses its support for the public sector strike. USI President Peter Mannion says he is “urging students to join the strikes organised around the country”.He says the cuts are “a further stifle to the recovery of the economy”. “The USI represents 250,000 students nationwide. Our students will be tomorrow’s graduates and any
changes in pay or working conditions in the public sector will directly affect them in years to come”, says Mannion. According to the USI, a slash of the public sector wage bill by €1.3 billion “will only lead to further unrest among the teachers of Ireland”. Support for the boycott was not universal, however, as a petition to ‘End Public Sector Strike Action’ was created last week. A Facebook group protesting against the embargo says the strike action is “ridiculous and unacceptable”. Over 100 Facebookers on the TCD network have joined to date. Teacher unions describe the continued proposals to reduce pay as “beyond belief and without any justification or analysis”. It is understood the trade unions will be organising a strike next week in order to further pressure the Government to maintain public sector salary levels. “Singling out teachers and public sector workers is unacceptable. An alternative approach to economic recovery must be adopted to ensure the burden is shared fairly”, says Union spokesman Mike Jennings.
Chancellor puts climate change on agenda Meadhbh McHugh Staff Reporter MARY ROBINSON, Chancellor of the College, former President of Ireland and Honorary President of Oxfam International, visited Trinity College Dublin on Wednesday evening to speak at the Oxfam Ireland seminar on climate change, less than two weeks before the global climate talks are due to begin in Copenhagen. The Chancellor’s address posited climate change as a human rights and justice issue, and one that is “already causing real devastation, huge damage and loss. Climate change undermines the enjoyment of Human Rights and threatens progress across the world.” The Chancellor called on the public to hold political leaders accountable for a fair and binding deal in Copenhagen, reinstating that “it is a political issue” and “it is disheartening to see discussions taking place as if they were world trade organisation negotiations, like a poker game. But if we don’t get
proper agreements and leadership in Copenhagen, it really will be the end of a liveable world.” The Chancellor concluded that it is the poorest people in the world who are suffering most as a direct result of climate change, a situation they didn’t contribute to. The Chancellor reminded the audience that we all have a “responsibility to address this great global injustice. We can’t think in terms of ‘they and us’ anymore but need to think ‘we’ if we are to tackle what is a global issue. People have a right to development but if poorer countries were to develop in a carbonbased way such as we did, it would have a catastrophic impact. We need developing countries to help us stay under the 2ºC outer limit. We need to start thinking of the possibilities, technologies and opportunities we have in Ireland to help the poorer countries of the world to develop in low-carbon ways.” Also speaking at the Oxfam Ireland seminar was Patrick Lameck of the
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Tanzanian NGO INADES Formation that works to empower small scale farmers. Patrick told the audience that poor people- who are least responsible for the climate crisis and least able to cope with its effects- are already being hit hard by multiple climate change impacts. Speaking from his experience of working with small farmers in Tanzania, Patrick told of the effects that climate change is having on poor communities and the efforts they are already making to adapt to these changes. He cited the recent landslide in Tanzania, which killed 21 people, as a reminder that climate change is “taking place now” and called on governments around the world to “act immediately if we are to save our planet”. Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland, reiterated that it is not a “distant threat” and cited the recent flooding in the West of Ireland as an example of how disastrous climate disruptions can be, asking the audience to imagine then the situation in countries without any structures of support or coping
mechanisms. Mr. Clarken championed the cause of separating climate finance from overseas aid, stating “the climate problem is not caused by those who are suffering most from it”. Mr. Clarken called for the public to send the government a strong message not to use overseas aid to pay climate debt. Instead Oxfam is calling for governments gathering in Copenhagen in December to deliver a deal that sets greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in line with keeping global temperature rises as far below 2ºC as possible. They are also calling on rich countries to reduce their emissions by at least 40% of 1990 levels by 2020, among other objectives.
Union splits from FUSU Lisa Byrne News Editor
Eamonn Bell making his winning speech at the final of the Historical Society’s Maidens Debating championship. Photo: Dominique English
THE STUDENTS’ Union Council has mandated Union President Cónán Ó Broin to “take the necessary steps to withdraw” the Union from the Forum for University Students’ Unions (FUSU). The motion was put forward at the November Council meeting following a review made by the Executive into the benefits gained from membership of the Forum. The motion was then carried by unanimous support. Union President Ó Broin criticised FUSU, claiming the Union was “not an effective organization; having meetings with no agenda and no leader”. The Council then sanctioned Ó Broin to formally notify the Presidents of all
other Students’ Unions that Trinity’s Union would be withdrawing from FUSU with “immediate effect”. The Union will be following in the footsteps of the UCD Union which terminated its membership of FUSU on October 27th. FUSU was set up in 1997 as a platform for communication between the five recently USI-disaffiliated university unions in Ireland, enabling communication between USI-affiliated and non-affiliated students’ unions. Non-members of the USI included the University of Limerick, NUI Maynooth and Dublin City University. According to TCDSU Council documents, it had been noted, “with regret”, that “the three university students’ unions not affiliated to USI contributed very little to the campaign
against fees; failed to coordinate any of their work with USI, even after agreement”. Criticism against FUSU has mounted in recent months as the divide between USI member unions and non-USI member unions has been deepened by the recent ‘fight against fees’. The TCDSU Council was of the view that the “co-operation between USI affiliated colleges was the key to the major victory over the proposed reintroduction of full Third Level Tuition Fees”. It was decided that the Union would be “better represented through the formal structures of USI than the adhoc meetings of the Forum of University Students’ Unions (FUSU)”
Motivational speaker to be Frank about his success Lisa Byrne News Editor FRANK MAGUIRE, the man recognised as one of the leading international authorities in management consultancy in the world, will be sharing his secrets for success with the College when he comes to visit next week. Mr. Maguire is the founding member and former Vice President of FedEx Worldwide, the former head of programming for ABC
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Radio Networks, a communications consultant to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson and right-hand man to Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harlan Sanders. He is readily regarded as one of the best business men of the twentieth century, having gained huge success with various companies he has worked with. His ingenuity resulted in FedEx being named “The Top Corporation of the
Decade” by Fortune Magazine. FedEx was also the first service company to be awarded the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award. He made an impact at ABC where, as Head of Program Development, he nurtured the now ‘legendary newsman’, Ted Koppel, who had been earmarked to be fired. KFC was the fastest growing company on the New York Stock Exchange while Maguire was Vice President. Mr. Maguire now works giving
motivational speeches which aim to allow people to realise their entrepreneurial skills. He says, “I have walked with giants. Each of them taught me something about myself, about life, about courage, about self-realization and fulfillment. I want to teach you those same life lessons.” Frank Maguire will be speaking at 7.15pm in the Thomas Davis Lecture Theatre next Tuesday, December 1.
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TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
New regulations for sabbatical elections Lisa Byrne News Editor THE COLLEGE Electoral Commission (EC), the student body responsible for organising and regulating College elections, has redrafted their rules for campaigning ahead of this yearâ€™s sabbatical elections. The redraft includes stricter rules surrounding sponsorship of campaigns, participation by current sabbatical officers and the confiscation of materials among others. According to article 1.5.f of the revised Schedule 3, current sabbatical officers must â€œstay neutralâ€? when dealing with all candidates unless they â€œthemselves are candidates.â€? Article 1.4.c has been redefined to add the clause that â€œsponsorship also includes participation with campaigning by any individual acting in their capacity with any internal or external organisation.â€? Recognising the power of the internet as a campaigning tool, the EC has added that â€œany persons acting on behalf of the candidate, is subject to these election regulationsâ€? regarding online campaigning. Flyering has not escaped the watchful eye of the Commission. They have now granted themselves the
authority to impose â€œfurther sanctionsâ€? on candidates deemed to have breached flyering regulations. An addition to the rules includes that of the â€œcampaigning areaâ€?. Article 2.5 of Schedule 3 has been added to define the rules regulating the area, which include limiting the area to â€œthe College Campus, Dâ€™Olier St. (â€œThe Gas Buildingâ€?), Trinity Halls or any institution affiliated with Trinity College or the University of Dublin.â€? Finally the EC have also officially confirmed through the use of Schedule 3 that any deposits not returned to candidates (usually as a result of a breach of rules) will be given to a charity â€œchosen by the EC.â€? According to the Studentsâ€™ Union Education Officer Ashley Cooke, the rules were changed â€œto make the elections as fair as possibleâ€? and together with the EC, they have introduced this new criterion to â€œadequately discourage any candidate from breaking rules.â€? Campaigning begins at 11pm on Sunday February 7 and will finish at 4pm on February 18. Voting takes place between the February 16 and 18. All students wishing to put their names forward as candidates must submit their applications to the Education Officer by January 24.
Weekly guide to entertainment
A (SNOW) WHITE CHRISTMAS PANTO
Particpants from the after-school programme staring in the first ever VDP Panto. Photo: Caroline Oâ€™Leary
Nighy fits the Bill at Players appearance
Actor Bill Nighy striking his trademark pose. Photo: Courtesy of DU Players
Alex Towers Deputy Film Editor RENOWNED BRITISH actor Bill Nighy visited the Players Theatre on November 16, where he treated a small audience to over an hour and a half of anecdotes and advice. Nighy entered the packed theatre to applause before interviewer Miles Duncan began quizzing him. But while discussing his Irish roots Nighy set the tone for the evening by announcing midstory, â€œIâ€™ve just discovered my fly is open.â€? After securing his trousers, Nighy then recounted how it was a girl he â€œwas completely enthralled withâ€? who had ignited his acting career. After mentioning his stint at drama school where he â€œdidnâ€™t really learn a great dealâ€?, Nighy talked at length about working for celebrated writers David Hare and Tom Stoppard in a series of landmark productions. In particular it is Stoppardâ€™s play Arcadia that Nighy still feels to be â€œone of the greatest achievements of my lifeâ€?. Nighy discussed his breakthrough into film that came with his roles in Still Crazy and Love Actually but it was his droll recounting of the first day on the Pirates of the Caribbean set that got the most laughs. â€œIt was a nightmare,â€? he said. â€œThey made me wear these computer pyjamas with white trainers and a skullcap and they were all covered by these white fluffy bobbles â€Ś and then they introduced me to Johnny Depp. To cope I just went
around repeating my fee in my headâ€?. Nighy also went on to tell numerous other anecdotes from the sets of films like Shaun of the Dead, The Boat that Rocked and Underworld. Nighy also engaged in very frank discussion about his life and career. â€œI have a gift for undermining myself,â€? Nighy said, reflecting on the nerves he still feels before each performance, â€œthereâ€™s always this naked fear that someone is going to walk over and say â€˜Bill, itâ€™s just not working out.â€™ I can still get wound up and enter a semi-paralysis because of this fear.â€? One such example came when Nighy described how he had watched his first television performance and â€œwas so disgusted by the sight and sound of myself that I retired on the spot.â€? But when pressed about reports that he was being considered for the role of Doctor Who, Nighy remained tight-lipped. He did, however eventually reveal that he would be playing a â€œsmall roleâ€? in a new series of the show written by his friend Richard Curtis. The actor also remained silent about his playing Rufus Scrimgeour in the upcoming two final Harry Potter films, although when Miles Duncan mistakenly called the role â€œa ministerâ€? Nighy broke his silence and corrected him: â€œIâ€™m the fucking minister.â€? After taking questions from the audience, Nighy was awarded honorary membership of the DU Players and, after striking his trademark pose, left the theatre to more applause.
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USI CELEBRATE 50TH ANNIVERSARY THE UNION of Students in Ireland (USI) recently celebrated its 50th anniversary by hosting a gala dinner with President of Ireland Mary McAleese as their Guest of Honour. The event catered for former presidents and officers, including Joe Duffy, Eamon Gilmore and Pat Rabbitte. Other leading figures from the worlds of law, business and politics attended. Over the years USI has faced many challenges and campaigned on a vast array of issues, including civil rights in the north and legal action with the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child over the distribution of abortion information. Seamus Donnelly, Deputy Editor
GMIT ANNOUNCES CHINA PARTNERSHIP GALWAY-MAYO INSTITUTE of Technology (GMIT) has formed a major new strategic partnership with Nanchang University (NCU), South East China. The two institutions will now run joint programmes in accountancy, hospitality and tourism, business and computing, and nursing. The agreement is seen as a major coup for GMIT, as NCU is ranked in China’s top 100 universities and has a student population of almost 90000 spread across five campuses. These cover some 8000 hectares of the province of Jiangxi in South East China. Furthermore, NCU has been singled out by the Chinese government as a key university for the future. Announcing the new strategic partnership in Galway, GMIT President Marion Coy said: “This is a new model for a partnership involving business and education in promoting the region.” John Fitzsimons
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
UCD hands over student information to impostors University College Cork A sample of the extensive flooding of Cork City, which in many places ran feet deep.
submerged by floods Fearghus Roulston National News Editor TAOISEACH BRIAN Cowen described the flooding situation in Ireland last week as an “ongoing emergency”, which he predicted was likely to get worse as rain continues in some areas of the country. Cork has been especially badly affected by the flooding. Last week, UCC postponed all lectures after extensive flooding of the university’s grounds, caused by the nearby River Lee bursting its banks. 30 of UCC’s 80 acres were submerged in floodwater, and a third of their buildings were damaged at ground floor levels. 500 staff and 2000 students were forced to evacuate their homes. The cost of repair is likely to be several million euro. A university spokesperson explained: “Buildings were badly affected by the flooding which began in the early hours of Friday morning after engineers at the Inniscarra dam in Cork allowed a massive volume of water to be released into the River Lee system. The engineers said that failure to do so would have caused even worse damage to the Lee Valley and surrounding low-level areas of Cork city.” The university denied any implicit criticism of the ESB, who were responsible for the dam. Despite this, an expert on flooding in Cork challenged the ESB to state its protocols for discharging water from Inniscarra dam. Professor Robert Devoy, who teaches courses on hydrology and physical
geography at UCC, said “Given high levels of saturation and forecasts a month ago from Met Éireann and the British Met Service that November was going to be very wet, I would have been releasing water from Inniscarra as fast as I could for the three weeks before the flood.” In an effort to assuage the crisis, which sees up to 300 students effectively homeless, the UCC Students’ Union (UCC SU) urged local hostels, hotels and guesthouses to accommodate the unfortunate students until the floodwaters subside. The Rochestown Park Hotel has offered the use of 40 bedrooms for a week, for students with nowhere to stay. Normal life at the university is not likely to resume for some time, and UCC have extended the end of the current term for a week to account for the disruption to teaching caused by the floods. UCC SU Deputy President, Ian Power, described “significant damage” to the student accommodation complexes. He also revealed that the university’s “sports arena, swimming pool and indoor sports hall were all under five feet of water”. UCC’s Glucksman Gallery has also been affected by the flooding. Art preservation experts are battling to save valuable paintings formerly housed in the gallery, while other paintings are being kept in water until experts decide how best to proceed. The scale of the flooding was such that gallery staff were unable to move all the art into a secure
storage area before the building filled with water. Some of the 184 works include paintings by renowned modern artists such as Louis de Brocquy and Martin Gale. The gallery’s director, Fiona Kearney, said staff were overwhelmed by the speed and size of the flood: “We were immediately on site but it flooded so quickly that it just wasn’t possible to get people safely down to move all the works. You just wouldn’t believe how fast the basement filled up. “We have been working throughout the weekend with an amazing group of conservationists and experts that have kindly come from throughout the country. We have had a wonderful response from our sister organisations such as the National Gallery of Ireland and the Chester Beatty Library to get the right people here,” she said. UCC’s official overview of the damage caused by the flooding suggested that, “The effects of the flood will extend for many months and full recovery will not be possible until well into 2010.” The Taoiseach visited Westmeath and Offaly last week to assess the extent of the flooding in the midlands. He confirmed the Government was liaising with the insurance industry to make sure assessments were carried out quickly, and said the €10 million humanitarian aid fund was an initial allocation, as water levels in Lough Derg and the River Shannon were confirmed as being at a historic high.
THE UNIVERSITY Observer discovered last week that any individual could easily gain access to the detailed -academic records of any UCD graduate. The paper compiled two standard application forms impersonating two recently graduated students and was supplied with copies of full academic statements for these two students by the Student Desk. They claimed the application forms requested only basic personal data, which can be obtained through the UCD website or from social networking sites. Both of the applications they presented to the Student Desk were signed with fraudulent signatures, and provided incorrect contact details and postal addresses for the students concerned. Despite this, their applications were processed. No attempt was made to contact the students and validate or confirm their application, and in both cases the records were sent by post to false addresses, at which the students had never lived. The graduates had consented to the Observer using their names for the purposes of the article, but gave no input or assistance in filling out the application forms. In one case, where the records had been issued but lost in the postal system, the Observer telephoned the Student Desk asking if further copies could be made available for collection later that day. The Student Desk consented with this, allowing a representative of the paper posing as a friend of the graduate to collect the records. This means, in effect, that anyone
possessing a UCD graduate’s basic personal details can impersonate them and claim a copy of their academic record. These revelations follow last year’s debacle when a spreadsheet containing the mobile and home phone numbers, email addresses and student numbers of 500 students in the Quinn School of Business was posted on a public area of UCD’s Blackboard system. A university spokesman warned UCD students to be vigilant: “With the advent of new online social media, there are new opportunities for individuals ... to falsely apply for copies of official academic transcripts.” He added that UCD encouraged students “to remain extra vigilant about publishing any personal information in publicly accessibly online media”. However, UCD’s Students’ Union President, Gary Redmond, claimed the Observer exposé revealed flaws in the university’s data protection system. He said that: “We’re obviously concerned with the apparent ease with which The University Observer were able to gain access to students’ academic transcripts. UCD Students’ Union encourages all students to take appropriate measures to ensure the protection of their personal details; however, the university should review its internal policies to ensure that all procedures were followed in this instance, and if necessary introduce mechanisms to ensure that a breach of this nature does not occur in the future.” A university spokesman declined to comment on whether data protection procedures within UCD were under review following The University Observer’s findings.
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UL UNVEIL NEW CHOREOGRAPHER THE UNIVERSITY of Limerick (UL) has recently revealed Liz Roche as its new Choreographer-in-Residence, at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. She has choreographed a number of productions for the Gate Theatre, The Abbey Theatre and Opera Ireland, and a full-length work for The National Ballet of China, as well as being co-founder and Artistic Director of Rex Levitates Dance Company. The appointment has been welcomed by Dr Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Professor of Music and Director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University. He stated: “The association of Irish choreographer Liz Roche with the Irish World Academy contemporary dance programme is a further indication of creative networking with a vibrant contemporary dance community in Ireland’ Seamus Donnelly Deputy Editor
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O’Searcaigh heckled at NUIG Fearghus Roulston National News Editor IRISH LANGUAGE poet Cathal Ó’Searcaigh was subjected to an angry verbal assault during a rare public appearance at National University of Ireland (Galway) earlier in the month. The poet, who has been dogged by controversy of late, was on the campus as a guest of the NUIG Literary and Debating Society to recite his own poetry and prose. He was faced with a verbal attack during the reading, and confronted by a post-graduate student as he left the theatre. Members of the society approached the man in the audience and asked him to refrain; however, at the end of the recital the student continued his angry tirade before being forcibly removed from the premises by college security. Ó’Searcaigh came to public attention in March 2008 after RTE’s documentary programme, “Fairytale of Kathmandu”, was broadcast. The documentary appeared to show Ó’Searcaigh involved in inappropriate relationships with Nepalese boys. He has
admitted to having sexual relationships with local men, but denies there was any element of coercion involved in these relationships. The poet did not comment on the incident at NUIG, but expressed defiance in an interview on an Irish-language radio station after the documentary: “I’m charged with this and that, but this is what happens when you’re in the centre of a publicity circus.” Students on an unofficial NUIG forum expressed varying views on the poet’s invitation, given his controversial status. One claimed the society organizing the event was “once again doing things for the sake of provoking people”. The Literary and Debating Society has courted controversy in the past, inviting convicted holocaust denier and historian David Irving to speak on campus. That invitation sparked a public debate; the invitation of Ó’Searcaigh has sparked another, with 68 percent of people on the unofficial forum voting against the idea of his invitation to the campus. Given these attitudes, that the poet’s appearance resulted in heckling is unsurprising.
A sound understanding of law is critical in a number of areas, including business, ﬁnance, human resources, insurance and in public service. The Postgraduate Diploma in Law is ideal for graduates in any discipline considering a career in or involving law. This one-year programme will be of particular interest to those preparing for the Law Society of Ireland entrance examinations as well as students seeking a career in areas other than law that require a sound understanding of legal principles. Admission ordinarily requires a minimum 2.2 honours degree in any discipline. Graduates of the Postgraduate Diploma are eligible to progress onto the MASTER OF ARTS IN LAW. Students on the MA in Law receive individual supervision on a sustained research project as they further develop specialised, marketable skills. Also offered in the School of Social Sciences and Law: MA Criminology MA Child, Family and Community Studies Deadline for applications: April 23rd, 2010, though offers will be made on a rolling basis. Contact us today to secure your place now!
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NO TO BOOK– BUYING CUTS On Thursday Nov 26th representatives of the Students’ Union met with the Vice Provost to voice your concerns about the 38% cut in the book-buying budget this year by Trinity College Library. Your concerns were ignored. From Saturday Nov 28th to Sunday Nov 29th the Students’ Union occupied Trinity College Library and raised the profile of the funding cuts in national newspapers and on the national airwaves. Your concerns were still ignored. These cuts affect you directly and we need your help to oppose them. Find out how you can get involved at
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
Obama’s first Chinese speech hit by Great Wall of censorship Monika Urbasnki Staff Writer PRESIDENT BARACK Obama’s first attempt to speak directly to China’s people during his trip earlier this month was marred by Beijing’s failure to broadcast the remarks nationwide. During a Town Hall-style meeting with students in Shanghai, President Obama was asked several questions about China’s “Great Firewall”, the internet filtering capability that the Chinese government requires on all Chinese computers. Internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China is conducted under a wide variety of laws and administrative regulations. According to the Wall Street Journal there is no clear explanation for why Obama’s meeting with university students was carried only on local Chinese television and transcribed on the web instead of being broadcast live on the internet by the state-run Xinhua news agency, as agreed to by Beijing - most certainly “Obama’s public charisma and engaging style clearly make the Chinese leadership uncomfortable.” During the meeting, which was minutely choreographed by Chinese officials, President Obama made several remarks about censorship and freedom of speech including: “I’m a big supporter of non-censorship, and I have a lot of critics in the United States who can say all kinds of things about me. I actually think that makes our democracy stronger ... The fact that we have free internet - or unrestricted internet access - is a source of strength, and I think it should be encouraged.” But not many were able to hear Obama’s criticism of the “Great Firewall”. Web users in China said Chinese officials censored Obama’s comments from a live internet translation and eventually deleted them from various websites. Although the White House website streamed the meeting live, it would not have been easy to access using a typical high-speed connection in Beijing. The problem of internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China has been addressed for many years now
by various organisations. Some expressed disappointment at the soft tone of many questions and said Obama should have addressed human rights violations in China more directly. In their annual report Amnesty International notes that China “has the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world”. The individuals cited in these reports are all considered to be prisoners of conscience. Those restrictions have also strongly affected Chinese students. For example, Liu Di, a psychology student from Beijing Normal University, who openly expressed solidarity with other imprisoned cyber-dissidents, was detained for a year on suspicion of “endangering state security”. But how do students react to defend the right to information and freedom of expression? The popular movement in 1989 marked the peak of the Enlightenment project in China. Chinese struggles for Enlightenment started in the iconic May 4th movement of 1919. Both movements were led by students and started at Tiananmen Square. The 1989 movement celebrated Enlightenment ideas of democracy and science but the military crackdown on June 4th shattered their dreams. According to The Guardian, today people who are raising an alarm are a small minority. Most people in China don’t know what they’re missing. Nevertheless there is a trend developing, driven by curious web users, to know more about the world around them. Lawsuits have been filed by internet users against government-owned service providers, stating that website blocking is illegal. A secret army of software writers has emerged, developing codes meant to defeat the restriction. Internet activist Yuan Mingli founded an antiGreat Firewall evasion group because of his affection for the web encyclopaedia Wikipedia, blocked in China. Nevertheless student protest remains small. If a student today proposed a pro-democracy protest, “people would think he was insane,” said one Peking University history major in an interview with The New York Times. “You know where the line is drawn. You can think, maybe talk, about the events in 1989. You just cannot do something that will have any public
Scantily clad Sao Paulo student sparks scandal Virginia Furness Staff Writer ESCORTED BY armed police and covering her hot pink minidress with a white lab coat, 20-year-old tourism student Geisy Arruda was forcibly removed from the campus of Bandeirante University, Sao Paulo, Brazil on 22nd October. Answering to the jeers of “whore, whore” from Arruda’s 800 fellow students, the private university made the decision to expel her based on the claims that her provocative dress was disrespecting “ethical principles and academic dignity and morality”. Arruda became an overnight internet sensation as videos of students ridiculing and cursing the blonde fashionista, posted on YouTube, made headlines across Brazil and drew attention around the world. Arruda said she learned of her expulsion through the news media and had not received official notification. Bandeirante University accompanied her expulsion with an advertising campaign entitled “Educational responsibility”. Using Arruda as an example, the campaign warned of the immorality of attending class with “inadequate clothing and having a provocative attitude that was so incompatible with the university environment”. Arruda told the Agencia Estado news agency she was humiliated by the experience and was not warned by university officials her dress was too racy.“If a security guard or a professor had told me something I would have humbly returned home and changed my clothes,” she said, accompanied by seven lawyers at a press conference. Following the demands of the Brazilian government for an explanation, the university retrenched, reversing its decision to expel Arruda. She says she is frightened to return to campus following such blatant abuse and demands the protection of a bodyguard. Contradicting the earlier claims of the university’s advertising campaign, university lawyer Decio Lencioni told Globo TV: “The problem is not her clothes, It’s her behaviour, her attitude.” Arruda vehemently denies Lencioni’s claim that she paraded provocatively, raised her dress, posed for photos and
chose the longest possible route out of college. “It’s a big lie that I raised the dress,” she told the private Agencia Estado news agency. Ellis Brown, vice-rector of the university, blamed Arruda for the initial move to expel her. “Hundreds of girls go to college in makeup and miniskirts. Geisy’s expulsion was not based on her style of dress,” he said. Students and politicians alike seem divided over the issue. The question arises whether university authorities had been offended, or had offended by their intolerance. “She extrapolated,” 22-year-old engineering student Adriane Santiago said, “It wasn’t normal the way she was acting that day and it wasn’t normal how she acted before. It wasn’t a surprise it happened.” Brazil’s minister for women’s policy, Nilcea Freire, told the official Agencia Brazil news service the university’s original decision showed “intolerance and discrimination”. The university claims it was right in its initial decision to expel Arruda but refuses to comment further. Brazil professes to be one of the world’s most tolerant, liberal nations. The home of the infamous Rio Carnival and birthplace of dental-floss bikinis, its culture appears to worship the bronzed temple of the body with an almost religious fervour. Though Copacabana and Ipanema beaches remain shrines to sexuality, Brazil still remains a deeply Catholic country. Modest dress is favoured in the work place and in colleges; skimpy clothing is left to the beach. “It is so ironic that this would happen in such a liberal country, where you have Carnival and women parading nearly naked,” said the aggrieved Arruda in an interview with the Associated Press following the event. Ms Arrunda seems to be enjoying her new-found fame, appearing on numerous TV shows and even reliving her experience in a comedy skit in Rio de Janeiro. She has since been asked to pose nude for Playboy Brasil and received numerous commercial offers, including one proposition to launch a lingerie line. The university remains temporarily suspended as a statebacked investigation into the apparent defamation and sequestration of the young student continues.
influence. Everybody knows that.” Most students seem to accept that, and describe 1989 as almost a historical blip, a moment too extreme and traumatic ever to repeat. There is a stereotypical view that students are not interested in democracy, but most Chinese students are disturbed by government corruption and censorship and are eager to study in the West, especially the United States. Some are very much aware of the “political thought classes” they are being put through: “Even the teachers know they are teaching rubbish.” Most students will make such statements only anonymously. A German student who taught in China for a period of six months agrees: “Anti-government statements by students might be negatively noted in their files. Even for us, the foreign language teachers and professors, there were restrictions. We were told that in every class there would be a student assigned to report to administrators if they hear teachers adopting anti-government lines.” The most important forms of China’s new citizen activism are probably new types of non-governmental organisation and online activism. In the Dissent, a magazine that claims to be the voice of the democratic left, journalist Guobin Yang argues that “Compared with the protest in 1989, however, the goals of this new activism are more concrete and down to earth, the means are more moderate, and the issues are more diverse. Freedom and democracy are still inspiring ideals, yet activists begin to use more moderate tactics.” Nevertheless, the facts are these: Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, and Blogspot are all on the list of banned websites in China. If you get your internet service from a Chinese provider, you won’t be able to access these sites. Most likely you won’t even be able to read your emails. Additionally, according to Amnesty International, Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist, is serving a ten-year prison sentence for sending an email to the US - and Yahoo! helped put him there. In a bold move in 2006 Google launched a self-censoring Chinese search engine, google.cn, that blocks search results for topics such as human rights, political reform, Tiananmen Square and Falun Gong.
TOP US UNIVERSITY EDCUATES PRISION INMATES WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY, one of the most selective US universities, has launched a new educational program educating inmates at the Cheshire Correctional Institution. The application process for the program was itself highly selective and only 19 inmates were accepted, from the 120 who applied. For the fall term they will be studying expository writing and Sociology and moving into science in the spring, with Biology and Chemistry. In addition to lectures at the prison, students from the university come in once a week for discussion groups and debates. Though the Wesleyan program is not completely unique, and there are certainly other universities with prisonbased programs, Wesleyan’s is definitely the most competitive.
TOO FAT TO GRADUATE GRADUATING FROM college just became more complicated for a handful of students at Lincoln University. The school, which is located in Pennsylvania, instituted a maximum body mass threshold, past which students may not receive their diplomas. If a student registers a 30 or higher on the BMI scale, or body mass index, they are required to take a conditioning course to lower their BMI, in order to graduate. When this policy was first implemented in 2006 few university officials, or students for that matter, took it seriously. However, now that the college is threatening to withhold the degrees of 24 seniors unless they lower their BMI, there has been a significant student outcry. The college continues to defend their policy, arguing that in loco parentis, it is their responsibility to keep students healthy.
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
Have EU heard of these people? In appointing two low-profile figures to the new positions of European President and a Foreign Affairs Representative, the EU has gone for a classic fudge. European heads of state have squandered an opportunity to give the continent strong leadership and a recognisable face. Hugh Taylor News Features Editor AFTER ALL the furore of passing Lisbon, with everyone scuttling to vote ‘yes’ in the teeth of an economic gale, one of the most important elements of the new ‘streamlining’ treaty has been put in place. Just over a week ago, and after a long bout of horse-trading by EU leaders, the Belgian prime minister Herman Van Rompuy was sworn in as the new European Council President, a post created specifically as part of the Lisbon treaty. He was followed by the British EU Trade Commissioner Lady Catherine Ashton, who was appointed as the EU’s Foreign Affairs High Representative. So far, so dull. The technocratic politics that the EU is so famous for (neither position was subject to an election) carries on regardless, with member states jockeying for status. Yet for those that care about the EU’s institutional independence and global political influence, the emergence of these two figures has been a bitter disappointment. In Van Rompuy and Ashton, the EU has opted for a compromise agreeable to its members, finding two placid operatives with little clout on the world stage. As Christ Patten, a
former EU commissioner for external affairs and now chancellor of Oxford has pointed out, member states ‘manage the EU’s institutions in their own interest’. The bigger players especially, Patten notes, will not suffer any major challenge to the status quo. ‘Nicolas Sarkozy can now be content that he will not have to compete for the global limelight with any Brussels supremos. Germany will not be challenged to break out of its increasing introversion, and obliged to demonstrate its democratic credentials by embracing the European cause at every turn. Britain, meanwhile, can rest easy that its world role will remain the aspiring Jeeves of the White House.’ The other big political winner in the process has been the European Commission, under its renominated President, José Manuel Barroso. Now unlikely to have his authority checked, he has emerged as the first among equals in the new EU leadership lineup. ‘Barroso is the happiest guy in Brussels,’ said one EU official. ‘He can’t believe his luck.’ That the EU has shown a considerble lack of ambition in its choice is reinforced by the candidates’ backgrounds, with Ashton particularly
bearing the brunt of criticism. Never elected to public office, she has now risen to the post of High Representative without direct foreign policy experience. For Simon Hix, professor of European politics at the London School of Economics, her appointment is ‘a typical example of how dysfunctional the EU has become. Cathy Ashton knows nothing about foreign policy. She got the job because she is a woman, she is British, she is from a big member state. But she gets no respect from anyone in foreign policy circles.’ A s h t o n’ s defenders meanwhile, point to her recent experience as EU Trade Commissioner (she was Peter Mandelson’s successor) in exposing her to regular and tough negotiations with the EU’s principal trading partners. And Ashton is herself aware of her perceived shortcomings, and has tried to counter the negative comments swirling round Brussels. Speaking to the BBC, she carefully declared her suitability for the role; ‘having been Trade Commissioner, I have the right credentials and been involved heavily in the key summits. Therefore I am very familiar with all the
key issues, way beyond the portfolio I have held.’ She continued: ‘over the next few months and years I aim to show that I am the best person for the job. I hope that my particular set of skills will show that in the end I am the best choice.’ This kind of conciliatory language underlies her supporters’ claim that she is a good-consensus builder and negotiator, a claim that is also extended for the incoming President, Van Rompuy. As Belgium’s Prime Minister, he has had to deal with a country that has threatened to tear itself apart over clashes between antagonistic Flemish and French factions. In maintaining his nation’s integrity, he’s said to have proved himself worthy of the role. Von Rompuy, who was born in 1947 and spent his early career at the Belgian Central Bank, is certainly a keen European, and is fluent in his native languages of Flemmish and French as well as English. Perhaps even more impressive is his talent at haiku-writing, which he indulges in his spare time. As
the first EU president, he looks likely to work in a chairman-like capacity in his new job, and was, like Ashton, careful to make the right noises upon his appointment: ‘without respect for our diversity, we will never build on our unity. I will always bear this principle in mind. Every country should emerge victorious from negotiations.’ Here in Ireland, there has also been approval from leaders: ‘I was very impressed by him, and by his manner. He understands very well the types of issues which different member states, and particularly small states, can encounter within Europe,’ the Taoiseach said. But there are disquieting noises too, most importantly on the subject of Turkey’s accession to the EU. In 2004, Van Rompuy made remarks in the Belgian parliament that were stark: ‘Turkey is not a part of Europe and will never be part of Europe… an expansion of the EU to include Turkey cannot be considered as just another expansion as in the past. The universal values which are in force in Europe, and which are also fundamental values of Christianity, will lose vigour with the entry of a large Islamic country such as Turkey.’ Given that Turkey’s entry into the EU would give Europe an unprecendented opportunity to improve relations with the Muslim world, Van Rompuy’s comments, now that he is President, are
On the Celtic Origin of Species
damaging to say the least. B u t fundamentally the EU has not answered H e n r y Kissinger’s famous question: who do you call when you want to call Europe? After years of wrangling, the EU has proposed two leaders that are perfectly competent, but likely to be sidelined in foreign summits, including crucial bilateral EU-US and EU-Chinese negotiations. Already US state officals are speaking quietly of their surprise at the choices. ‘It is rather less than we were hoping for, ’ commented one Obama aide with a dose of diplomatic understatement. The alternative strategy of a highprofile leader, like Tony Blair, was proposed for some time and seemed to be gaining momentum, but the traditional, politically conservative forces in the EU maintained their sway. This is in despite of the increasing need for a strong, focused EU voice that can take an independent lead on climate change, the Middle East, Africa and trade (to name but a few). Following the murky appointments of Von Rompuy and Ashton, we still lack that voice.
Illustration: Colin Purrington
While we’ve traditionally looked to the Celtic race for our cultural and ethnic identity, DNA analysis shows there’s a scant amount of Celtic blood in our veins. John O’Rourke Staff Writer HAVE YOU ever felt your eyes glaze over whilst being railroaded by a visitor from the United States with a comprehensive breakdown of their family tree? No disrespect, of course, to our brethren from across the pond but us Irish simply can’t cope sometimes as they launch into breathlessly recounting their variegated ancestry, replete with a litany of “half Irish”, “quarter Norwegian”, “three sixteenths Korean” or most eyebrowraisingly of all, “about two fifths West Samoan”. The only method of retaliation left open to the majority of Emerald Isle inhabitants is an ineffectual shrug of the shoulders, followed by a vague mumble, regarding our homogenic origins. But do we actually believe that our pale skin and blue eyes are totally indigenous to this land? Did we emerge fully-formed and ginger-haired out of the primordial soup and on to the craggy coastline of Connemara? Taking recourse to those dim-lit regions of our brains, wherein half-remembered tidbits from Junior Cert History dwell, we might recall some fuzzy notion that our race is constituted from Celtic stock. This is in itself a rather shady ethnicity, spreading itself out of modern-day Switzerland from 300 AD onwards. Is this where our origins lie? Every so often a quarrel from academia spills over into
public discourse and the issue of our own particular progenitors is a recent example of this. While most of us are aware of the Neolithic settlements that are dotted up and down the country,
Celticism has guided all thoughts concerning our most basic ethnic identity. But according to Oppenheimer’s research, 88% of the DNA information in the Irish gene pool was already present in preCeltic Ireland. the prevailing mythology of “Celticism” permeates our preconceived notions of who we are just as much as Anglo-Saxon lore dominates similar conceptions amongst our neighbours across the water. However, in the country that was set ablaze by the theories of Charles Darwin, a new dispute is arising on this very topic. Historians, archaeologists, geneticists, sociologists and historical linguists are drawing up the battle lines
as the great unwashed of England begin to furrow their brows and ask some pretty soul-searching questions. It all began in 2006 with the publication of Stephen Oppenheimer’s work, Origins of the British. Publicity for this weighty tome, which consisted mostly of DNA data, was drummed up through a lengthy excerpt in Prospect magazine, where some of the more controversial theories were outlined. Oppenheimer argued that people should base their ethnic perceptions on hard genetic evidence— which he purported to provide—instead of the less scientific ethnic indicator of language. Even so, there is a lot of important identity revealed in how English is spoken; unlike the Romance languages of its continental neighbours, English is undeniably Teutonic in its origins. Similarly, most of Britain’s place names stem from Germanic words and the earliest work of literature thought to belong to the English tradition is the monolithic Beowulf, itself an important arbiter on Anglo-Saxon cultural discourse. With such a strong tradition, the deepest roots of which are still so evident today, it’s easy to see how ‘Anglo-Saxonism’ dominated British cultural identity for so long. We have an analogous scenario in Ireland. While it’s not the case now, Irish/Gaeilge (which is of course a Celtic
language) was spoken widely throughout the land for almost two millennia. Most of the place names still in use today owe their beginnings to Irish. Our earliest sense of shared cultural identity springs from Celtic mythology, tales like those of Cúchulainn or Fionn mac Cumhaill. Again, it’s no wonder that ‘Celticism’ has for so long steered and guided all thoughts concerning our most basic cultural identity. But according to the research painstakingly conducted by Oppenheimer, 88% of DNA information in the Irish gene pool was already present in pre-Celtic Ireland, belying the popular orthodoxy of an Ireland founded on Celtic ethnicity. Similarly, although the evidence is not as pointed, 66% of British genealogical data predates the Anglo-Saxons. He argues that the overwhelming majority of our genetic makeup derives from immigrants who arrived in what we now call Ireland and England from the Iberian Peninsula around 15,000 BC, with a second huge
migration shift occurring around 6,000 BC. Later incursions from invaders like Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings may have left an indelible mark on the cultural history and mindset of these islands, but not on their gene pool. These theories have set alight a fervent argument in Britain, and have been met with many objectors and detractors, some substantially more
articulate t h a n others. But it does seem that Oppenheimer is on to the right track regarding our ancestry. So where does that leave us? We certainly are not going to overnight erase the mass of Celtic ideology we’ve built up and established our identity on over the past two thousand years, but it might just give us a bit more food for thought when confronted with the Byzantine configurations of an allAmerican family tree.
THE BACKGROUND WITH GAVIN MCLOUGHLIN & JONATHAN LEE
NUCLEAR BAN TOO RESTRICTIVE GITMO GHOST HAUNTS OBAMA THE BRITISH government’s recent identification of 10 sites suitable for a new generation of nuclear power stations has reignited the furore surrounding the Irish ban on nuclear power. While the proposal has been met with strident criticism from anti-nuclear campaigners and environmentalists on this side of the Irish Sea, credit must be given to Minister for the Environment John Gormley for acknowledging the need for a wide-ranging public debate on the Irish ban. In the wake of the recently published report of the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security, such a debate is all the more appropriate. Legitimate concerns have been raised about the report’s failure to mention any possible future role for nuclear energy in this country. Moreover, when one considers the fact that the government target for renewable energy is just 40% of total electricity output by 2020, it seems that nuclear power must be part of any realistic attempts to make a meaningful reduction in Irish carbon emissions.
It’s important for Ireland to take a critical and objective look at nuclear power and move past the stigmas that make it so unpopular. The Chernobyl tragedy represents an indelible stain on nuclear power’s reputation. It is undoubtedly true that issues surrounding the disposal of toxic waste and the possibility of terrorist attacks on nuclear reactors exist. However, the fact remains that once utilised appropriately, nuclear fission is a safe, carbon-free, reliable and comparatively inexpensive means of producing electricity. This fact must be borne in mind by the government in its attempts to strike a balance between energy security and energy sustainability. The idea that Ireland’s entire carbon-free electrical output should come solely from weather-dependent renewable sources is folly, given the relative inefficiency of these alternatives and the volatile nature of our climate. It is surely time the legislation banning nuclear energy be repealed, and a mature debate about nuclear energy’s place in our future be had.
CLEANING UP after the likes of Cheney, Ashcroft, and Rumsfeld was never going to be easy, and of the various carpet stains in the Oval Office, Guantánamo Bay is proving rather stubborn. Last Friday, Phillip Carter, the man charged with overseeing the closure of the U.S. military prison in Cuba, resigned his post after just seven months, citing only “personal reasons”. His departure follows last month’s resignation of Gregory B. Craig, the White House counsel in charge of detainee policy, and only a day after the Obama administration admitted that Guantánamo will not be closed before the self-imposed January deadline. All this comes as the administration grapples with the complexities of physically closing the facility, a task which involves resolving the fates of over 200 inmates currently in the prison. The Justice Department has decided to prosecute five men, including the selfstyled 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in federal courts on American soil in New York, saying it will seek the death penalty. The move is fraught
with emotional responses from area victims, as well as political criticism from those who regard bringing these men into the United States as an indication of softened attitudes during an ongoing ‘war on terror’. Then there is a group of Chinese Uighurs, men picked up in Afghanistan who have remained in the prison for seven years without charge and have been cleared for release. If released to China they face the possibility of torture, but like many of the inmates, no other countries are willing to take them. Whatever course Obama chooses in making good on this campaign pledge will ignite controversy and involve considerable practical effort. It is a worthy cause, though, and something that will bolster the President’s credentials after a premature Nobel Peace Prize. Guantánamo Bay continues to sully the United States in the eyes of the world, along with so many decisions taken by the Bush administration. Such an inhuman facility cannot remain, and its closure will be a real success for Obama, regardless of the timeframe.
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
Confronting the ghosts of Ireland’s future
Stephen Brittain reflects on the recent attacks by the RIRA in Northern Ireland, and asks what can be done to stop them.
“There is only one way to appease a ghost. You must do the thing it asks you. The ghosts of a nation sometimes ask very big things and they must be appeased whatever the cost” - Pádraig Pearse, Christmas Day, 1915. Stephen Brittain thinks extremism may be once more on the rise
N MONDAY March 9, 2009, two British soldiers were killed at Massereene barracks in Northern Ireland by members of the Real IRA (RIRA). On October 16, RIRA planted a bomb under the car of a member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), which badly wounded the policeman’s fiancée. More recently, on November 21, the same organisation planted a car bomb outside the headquarters of the Policing Board in Belfast, which partially exploded without injuring anyone. On the same evening, dissidents attempted to murder a recent Catholic recruit to the PSNI, but their plans were foiled. These individual incidents point to an increased security threat emanating from dissident republican organisations. However, in spite of this recent upsurge in activity it is undeniable that the strategic threat posed by RIRA to the authorities and to social stability in Northern Ireland is negligible when compared to that presented by the Provisional IRA (PIRA) during the Troubles. They enjoy no electoral support nor do they have a significant number of active servicemen capable of being deployed militarily. They would appear to be stuck in a rut, the fag end of a rotten branch, soon to receive the call of history and depart the stage. However, if the history of Ireland has taught us anything, it is that the flame of extremist Irish nationalism, even after having reached a low ebb, can suddenly explode, with disastrous consequences for the country. The important question that must be answered is whether, and under what conditions, RIRA could pose a viable threat to the stability of Northern Ireland, and what we can do to stop them. It is the objective of RIRA to bring about a breakdown of law and order in Northern Ireland as a prelude to the re-unification of the national territory. History suggests that this cannot be done by the power of their arguments alone. The promise of perpetual war in the service of an arid and abstract idealism is unattractive to most people who wish
above all else to maintain a comfortable living standard and, after that, to be left alone. In order to gain mass support it has always proven necessary in the past for the nationalists to be seen to offer a solution to some concrete grievance bearing immediately on the lives of ordinary people; curiously, it is only in moving away somewhat from the nationalist pieties and offering concrete solutions to the problems of the real world that those same pieties come to be accepted by the people. In Northern Ireland at the beginning of the Troubles the grievance the most prominent irredentist nationalists of the time successfully seized upon, was the heavy-handed and blatantly sectarian treatment meted out to adherents of the Civil Rights Movement by the Unionist Government. The Provisional IRA (PIRA) emerged from this crisis having assumed the role of protectors of the nationalist community and it was this mantle, and the protection and support that it conferred, which enabled that organisation to carry out a formidable armed campaign over three decades. The ideology the irredentists espoused had existed long before the first stirrings of the Civil Rights Movement and, indeed, before the establishment of the Northern State, but had attracted little support in the nationalist community. It was tragic events such as the Battle of the Bogside and Bloody Sunday which injected it with renewed vitality. A suggested answer to the question posed above: RIRA may attract sufficient support to sustain a viable armed campaign against the British presence in Northern Ireland and the Unionist majority that sustains it, if at some point in the future they display sufficient ingenuity to cast themselves in the role of saviours of the nationalist community of Northern Ireland in the face of a governmental imposition which that community considers unacceptable. Whether a grievance of sufficient seriousness, bearing especially heavily on the nationalist community (an essential condition), will ever arise again is a matter of pure speculation.
An obvious danger may be perceived in the current high levels of unemployment, particularly among young males, in both parts of Ireland. Irredentist nationalism offers these
“However, if the history of Ireland has taught us anything, it is that the flame of extremist irish nationalism, even after reaching a low ebb, can suddenly explode” young men the opportunity to substitute the sense of purpose, notoriety, and the romance of revolutionary life for the listlessness, boredom and anonymity of suburban poverty. However, I do not believe that we are on the brink of a present conflagration. The present recession is deficient as an incendiary grievance because it is difficult to characterise it as a peculiarly nationalist problem, and thus it is difficult to cast it in terms of “us” and “them”. Luckily, we are a long way from 1972, but that does not necessarily mean that a recurrence of such circumstances is entirely impossible. In the absence of certainty as to what the future holds it is necessary to make contingencies. Those of us who reject RIRA’s ideology must ask ourselves how it can be effectively confronted in the event of its ever gaining traction in nationalist communities. A solution often suggested is to argue that it is the mainstream nationalists of today, rather than the subversives, who are the true heirs to the 1916 Easter Rising, the most significant event in modern nationalist history. This claim, if true, would deprive RIRA of much of the historical support which they claim for their campaign. The claim is, alas, unconvincing. The principles of the Good Friday Agreement may be taken as the standard that this generation of mainstream Irish
nationalists have committed themselves to. Thus, if the claim of the moderate nationalists to the legacy of 1916 is to be sustained it must be demonstrated that the principles of the Good Friday Agreement and those of the Rising are convergent or, at the very least, not incompatible. The first significant principle contained in the Good Friday Agreement is that of majority rule. The Agreement was adopted by majority vote in both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland, and states that the re-unification of Ireland will not occur without the consent of the majority, North and South. The second is the requirement of equal respect for the two traditions on this island, as embodied in the Agreement’s mandatory power-sharing provisions and also in the principle of non-discrimination between the members of the two communities. On the first of these points it is difficult to identify any majoritarian basis for the Easter Rising. The leaders of the Rising had not been elected to any office by the people nor had the people indicated their assent to the objective of the Rising, the complete independence of all Ireland. Indeed, the leaders did not consider the consent of the people necessary to legitimise their actions. Their actions make this clear. The Proclamation itself also carries a heavy hint to this effect. It states: “In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.” Thus, it is plain that the leaders of the Rising regarded the will of the majority of the people as a matter of little or no consequence. These lines contain two interrelated statements of principle: firstly, they vest the “dead generations” of Ireland, the ghosts of our nation, with supreme authority to determine the fate of the nation in the present day and, secondly, they appoint the leaders of the Rising, on their own authority, as the authentic interpreters of the will of those ghosts. The Good Friday
Agreement does not mention favoured national ghosts; still less does it invest them with supreme political power. Political legitimacy under it depends on the possession of an electoral mandate from the living. Thus, the Rising cannot be seen as consistent with the Good Friday Agreement’s emphasis on democracy. On the second of these points, that of equal respect for the two traditions
“The exaltation of the Rising and the apothesis of its leaders continues to cause harm ... as such, we must reject it” on this island, the Easter Rising is at odds with the spirit of toleration which permeates the Good Friday Agreement. The Proclamation of the Irish Republic treats contemptuously Unionist sentiment, by attributing the Unionist desire to remain part of the United Kingdom to “differences carefully fostered by an alien Government” rather than accepting that that desire is a product of serious consideration and thought by free and rational men and women, albeit one that we might not share. On the basis of these fundamental inconsistencies I have concluded that adherents of the Good Friday Agreement cannot be said to bear much resemblance to the leaders of the Easter Rising. Provisional Sinn Féin can with justice be said to have resembled them until relatively recently when, with their acceptance of the Good Friday Agreement, they entered the democratic fold and have since abided (by and large) with the rules of democratic engagement. This conclusion presents today’s mainstream nationalist with a set of
stark alternatives. He must either renounce the Good Friday Agreement as inconsistent with the Pearsean nationalism of his forefathers and thus accept RIRA’s point of view or he must renounce much of his own nationalist inheritance, specifically its undemocratic and its monocultural aspects, as embodied in the Proclamation of the Republic. This is necessary if he wishes to be in a position to confront the subversives on an intellectually coherent basis. The exaltation of the Rising and the apotheosis of its leaders continues to cause harm. Stated simply, such exaltation suggests that political violence unsupported by a democratic mandate can be justified, provided the perpetrators of the violence are themselves convinced of the justice of their cause. It is that logic which enables RIRA to continue their campaign and, as such, we must reject it. It is time to break free from “MacDonagh’s bony thumb” (W. B. Yeats, Sixteen Dead Men). It is time that we regarded political violence in any context with extreme circumspection, as the tragic last resort of oppressed peoples (the oppression having been certified and the violence ordered by the people themselves). It is time that the virtues of democracy were emphasised. It is time that the negotiations, compromises, and interminable debates, inherent in any democratic model, are seen for what they are: not the unprincipled mechanisms by which designing men attain their ends but, rather, the necessary spurs to moderation which enable us all to live in a single society in a state of peace. We must never again recognise the legitimacy of violence perpetrated in the name of the people but without their consent. It is only in this way that we will be in a position to confront RIRA and others like them without flinching. We daren’t flinch, for the consequences of RIRA succeeding are too horrible to contemplate: more bloodshed, another generation lost to civil war, and yet more fodder for those ghosts.
I’m just a love machine, feeding my fantasy Oz Woloshyn is terrified by the latest development in sexual technology and what it means for all involved
S ANYONE who has seen the Coen brothers’ Burn After Reading (2008) will know, modified household appliances can be used as female sex aids. This should perhaps come as little surprise: from soiled underwear available for sale in Japanese vending machines to “zoophilia”, the human desire for sexual gratification has left no stone unturned. In this context, the inception of mechanized dildos should raise few eyebrows - women have a right to orgasm when they want, how they want and without the inconvenience of a sexual partner. Sex machines are extraordinarily efficacious; tested on a number of porn
stars on an episode of The Howard Stern Show, their subjects experienced such powerful orgasms that they were unable to walk, talk or even breathe. Stern himself was so taken aback he repeatedly mumbled “Are you OK?” admitting “I’m shook up.” The cameraman fared worse - he (along with his equipment) was soaked in female ejaculate. “Poor Niagra,” as Eleanor Roosevelt once said. The real surprise, however, was that when Stern asked “So, where can a woman buy one of these things?” their inventor replied, deadpan, “Oh no, we’re a porn company: these aren’t for sale.” In other words, these machines aren’t for women, they’re for men (OK,
technically, “viewers of pornography”). The website www.fuckingmachines. com features over fifty products, including “Intruder”, “Robospanker” and “Je Taime” and is explicitly geared towards a “masculine” market. The description of “Black Magic” is in the register of the TV power tool ad: “This sleek steel beauty is a multi-positioning, variable speed fucking machine and is a great new addition to the fleet. Its unique frame has several joints that allow for a variety of positioning possibilities ... It gets the job done.” In fact, every machine is catalogued according to its “tech spechs”: “torque”, “rpm”, “stroke length” and “ratio.” As one of the porn stars writhes in
agony (sorry, ecstasy), Howard Stern’s co-presenter says, “You’d better pray for a power outage, ’cause men are obsolete now.” Textbook tendentious humour; the concern is very real because, as “britomart slutlover” aptly notes on the pornographic forum www.phun.org, “It’s kinda hot and kinda depressing at the same time because they really get off.” Fucking machines indeed. The marriage of the “kinda hot” with the “kinda depressing” is more properly known as “masochism”. This phenomenon takes its name from the nineteenth century Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, who begged his wife
to inflict all manner of cruelties on him, even insisting that they sign a legal contract registering him as her slave. However, the masochistic fetish which particularly fascinated him was being cuckolded and it was his wife’s refusal to sleep with another man which ultimately led to the break-up of their marriage. The internet has allowed men to play out their masochistic fantasies in virtual reality and one senses that if www.fuckingmachines.com had been available in the 1860s, Count and Countess von Sacher-Masoch might have lived happily ever after. There is a more general point here: much has been made of how internet pornography demeans the women who
star in it, but little is said of the extent to which, consciously or unconsciously, the viewer is also demeaned. Whether it’s the mechanical phallus of the niche www.fuckingmachines.com, or the freakishly large, hard and durable penises of mainstream pornography which emit semen by the gallon and prompt female orgasms which sound like axe murders and look like epileptic fits, the average man is left feeling like he can’t measure up. That the revenue of internet pornography generated in the United States eclipses the combined revenue of professional football, baseball and basketball franchises testifies to the peculiar pleasure of this sensation.
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
Visions of Trinity A new ITV series bearing our college’s name features champagne swilling aristocratic toffs would be apparently impossible without (our) Trinity. Minoo Dinshaw makes the link
O WHAT does the word “trinity” mean, then? There’s Carrie Anne Moss in The Matrix, obviously. Charming girl. Not much in the way of conversation, but perfectly dashing in a leather catsuit, and that seemed more than sufficient for Keanu Reeves. Moving down the scale of macro-importance, the Trinity is the intellectual core within Christianity. It has long dissuaded buyers of what is otherwise considered a popular spiritual product, and its rebarbative complexity has engendered offshoots as varied as Arianism, Monophysitism and Islam. More interestingly, Trinity is the brand name that adorns three ancient collegiate institutions; and also the target ITV2 selected when deciding to nail posho British tertiary education. Why so, we wonder; but not for long. Kieron Quirke and Robin French, the writers of “Trinity” (late undergraduates, needless to say, of Oxford and Cambridge) needed a single word name (snappier), equipped with esoteric, sinister aspects (more commercial, cf. Dan Brown), and possessed of some ambiguity (less vulnerable to litigation). What better choice than a medieval college named after a theological concept, whose very country of origin is tricky to place precisely? I come from Balliol, Oxford, myself. We are next to your namesake and we have an extremely boring relationship with them. Despite being a larger, richer and more popular college, Balliol is plagued by a barely hidden architectural inferiority complex, and so chooses to uphold an ancient bloodfeud with Trinity (Oxford) which the other lot have, by and large, grown out of. It is a bit like Orwell’s Ten Minute Hate in 1984, or the pervasive British nostalgia for evil Germans, sly French and red Russians; our loathing of Trinity keeps us strong and gives us something to talk about, in theory, when all else fails. So when “Trinity” emerged on ITV, it was an instant hit round my place, but a slightly nuanced one. Should we be thrilled that our traditional rivals were being pilloried on telly every Sunday by means of the most absurd stereotypes imaginable (“I know girls like a bit of rough, but in my experience they prefer a nicely laundered waistcoat”)? Or should we envy them the attention and cachet of exemplifying such glamorous evil? I am myself firmly in the latter camp. I’d
“I know girls like a bit of rough, but in my experience they prefer a nicely laundered waistcoat”
love to see a TV series encompassing class-tormented sex, fascistic medical experimentation and rad tailcoats called “Balliol”, though I’m not sure the ratings would be as high. Of course Quirke, French and their various directors lacked the spirit to actually approach one of the Trinities over the question of shooting locations (despite those friendly, tempting Irish tax-breaks on artistic enterprise), and so Royal Holloway was picked. In Cambridge, Oxford and Dublin alike the disapproval will have been felt, for Royal Holloway is suitable neither in terms of architecture, nor context, for the accurate representation of any Trinity. All of our Trinities are old religious foundations engrained within a town (Trinity Oxford was founded to resist the Reformation, Trinity Dublin to support it, but that’s by the by). Royal Holloway looks like a secluded, Victorian Gothic public school experiment. The TV series lost out on any town/gown opportunities for their plot (internalising these instead through the Dandelion Club/ meritocratic freshers contrast), and bowed to a strangely alien structural cliché. The result is that our beloved Trinity aristocrats behave like students of Christ Church in buildings that look like Keble, or (perish the thought) Girton, Cambridge (a weirdly feminine castle entirely erected from blood red stone), buildings the Bullingdon Club wouldn’t deign to vomit in. These aesthetic quibbles aside, I must confess what must already be obvious, that, as Professor Maltravers, played by the immaculate Charles Dance, admits somewhere in the last episode, “I love Trinity; the Dandelion Club is my life.” I love the half-implemented way that Trinity is actually made to function as an “internationally recognised centre of learning” (the best school leavers in, at least, Britain seem to head there),
despite retaining academic serfdom which must lack a certain efficiency (the President of the Dandelion Club, viewers are constantly reminded, doesn’t have to do any work at all). I love the skewed vision of the academics which results in Maltravers apparently teaching medicine (he is supposed to have discovered a vital cancer treatment which murdered an arbitrary bunch of babies) as well as English (he retails Shakespeare and mauled Tennyson effortlessly and demands coursework in King Lear from Dorian), or in Dorian and Rosalind for some reason having votes on the college’s governing body. I hate the two idiots, “Angus and Raj”, and can’t bear to watch them, but I enjoy the fact that, like all true gimps, they possess inexplicable computing skills. And though I may have focussed so far on the obvious butts of “Bridgeford University”, i.e. my establishment and its hated sister in the fens, I don’t think the miasma and atmosphere of “Trinity” is without debt to Trinity Dublin, either, though it may be a matter of indirect and knock-on effect rather than deliberate reference and resonance. Take the two characters in “Trinity” who between them decisively wrest the show into their hands: Dance’s Professor Edmund Maltravers, and Christian Cooke’s Dorian Gaudain. I would contend they are in at least one sense – the intellectual sense - Dublin-born. It’s all in the name. Without Oscar Wilde, there could have been no Sebastian Flyte (Evelyn Waugh’s pretty boy is obviously the king of Dorian Gaudain’s particular sub-category). The philosophy the Dandelion Club under Gaudain espouses (“a society dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure”) and under Charlotte Arc rejects (“God, you’re boring: do you think about anything other than waistcoats and girls?”) is expressly Wilde’s own, and Trinity is able, for reasons of cultural context, to express its homoerotic side far more explicitly than is possible in Wildean drama (see the sometimes agonisingly heavy-handed love affair between Ross and Jonty: “We were lovers. You didn’t know that because you didn’t know him”). As for Edmund Maltravers, it should always be remembered that Wilde came to Oxford already a Trinity graduate, and a protégé of one of its most famous academics, John Mahaffy.
Wilde attended Trinity Oxford after graduating from Dublin University under the tutelage of John Mahaffy. Mahaffy it was who inducted Wilde into the details of Platonic homosexual ideals; and while “Trinity’s” Maltravers and Dorian Gaudain lack a relationship of any such intensity, there is suggestion of some close, at least, mental affinity between Maltravers and Richard Arc (“He had the most beautiful mind I have ever known”). Nor, as it happens, is TCD without precedents for well-written, murderous trash. I direct the reader at once to a great, almost forgotten novel of Terence de Vere White’s, Lucifer Falling. This features the core struggle of “Trinity” – old guard academics vs modernisers – with the more spectacular,
conspiratorial elements (weird science, building a master-race, etc.) excised; with less nudity and more sexual agony. Basically, this novel (which is complete with a panicky disclaimer from de Vere White that “this is not intended to be a picture of Trinity Dublin”) toys with an archetype “Trinity” has gestured to without ever fully incorporating it – the Lecherous Lecturer. The ITV show allows its dons some kind of love life, with a triangle between Dr Gabriel Lloyd, Dr Angela Donne and (the late) Richard Arc, and a brief attempt by Rosalind Gaudain to seduce an academic’s “sexily honed brain”. But Lucifer Falling is from a seedier hand,
less reliant on a youthful audience and happy to linger on the pains of middleaged amours. It also contains, more like “Trinity” in this respect, a dramatic, well-timed and attuned killing: “It hit him between the shoulder blades, shattering his spine into several pieces. The bust was undamaged. The College has it in the Library now.” (For a less distressing literary take on your hothouse, there’s always Joyce.) Aestheticism, mentoring and murder: “Trinity” would be nothing without Trinity (yours). Hold your heads high and grab that ITV internet player if you haven’t already.
Why democracy is not right for Afghanistan Peter Schwartzstein thinks that the controversial may well be the inevitable.
HE CROWD of students gathered shortly before midday. Hurling stones at security guards and burning an effigy of President Obama, they chanted “down with democracy, long live Islam”. Police fired shots over the heads of the mob as it tried to storm Afghanistan’s parliament. It was but one of an increasing number of instances highlighting the immense challenges and difficulties facing the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan. For if even Kabul students (supposing they were students), freed of the shackles of the Taliban theocracy, angrily refute the coalition’s presence and reject its attempted imposition of democracy, then what hope is there elsewhere? In a scenario eerily reminiscent of the US involvement in Vietnam, Western powers find themselves trapped in a conflict that is both increasingly illreceived at home and unwelcome to the point of violence amongst those they seek to help. Obama came to power on a platform of change, he promised to diminish the US presence in Iraq - the “bad war” - and escalate US efforts in Afghanistan - the
“good one”. In so doing, however, fears have arisen that the US (and its coalition allies) are once more being dragged into a seemingly unwinnable war. A good many political commentators
A good many political commentators feel, though, that the war was doomed from the very moment of its conception feel, though, that the war was doomed from the very moment of its conception in the revenge-fuelled hallways of the post 9/11 White House. They feel that Afghanistan’s unique situation and particular set of circumstances ensure it is inherently ill-suited to democracy. Such views are now being echoed by some in positions of power. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, conceded that Afghanistan cannot
sustain a democracy. It will, by her admission, likely remain a fractured muddle of tribal entities and warlord-governed mini-states. The recent election has, if anything, confirmed the unfeasibility of the democratic process in Afghanistan’s immediate future. Accusations of vote-rigging, ballot-stuffing and electoral fraud at the highest level were widespread (and in most cases almost certainly true). The frequent and vehement professing of innocence by the chairman of the electoral commission, a cousin of the incumbent and now reelected President Hamid Karzai, were of no consolation. In a telling indication, though, of Afghanistan’s tenuous grip on democracy, so damning were the defeated challenger Dr Abdullah Abdullah’s allegations of “stateengineered fraud”, that President Karzai was forced to submit to a second round run-off. Dr Abdullah refused to participate, however, fearing a repeat of the previous round’s fraudulent practices. Some too felt it best to
legitimise a horribly compromised election rather than to risk additional election violence. Indeed given Afghanistan’s state of affairs and recent history it is unsurprising that the election constituted little more than a brazen charade and a violent demonstration of the country’s relatively primitive political processes. Their particularly inflexible brand of Islam places minimal value on women’s rights and on freedom of speech and other religions - essential traits of democracy - while there is no
r e c o g n i s e d precedent for the peaceful settlement of disputes beyond the loya jirga (tribal councils). Such a situation is underscored by Afghanistan’s many tribal rivalries and multiplicity of ethnicities, and when coupled with Afghanistan’s economic weakness (with opium by far its biggest cash crop) and high unemployment (40%), it is of little wonder that the country has hardly embraced democracy in the manner in which former President Bush and his neo-conservative cronies foresaw. Even more worrying, and with implications well beyond Afghanistan, is its astonishingly high birth-rate (the fourth highest global birth-rate has meant that 45% of the population are under 14), which has resulted in a potentially devastating demographic trend. Hoards of unemployed and likely
ill-educated young men are easy prey to the current waves of instability and radical Islamists sweeping the country. With a central government struggling to impose its will beyond Kabul, and international patience in its leadership severely tried by the electoral sham, Afghanistan’s democratic experiment is living on borrowed time. Only for so long will scores of Western troops die to validate the corrupted leader of an increasingly devalued government. Churchill famously stated that “democracy is the worst system of government, except for all the others”, and while it remains a desirable pursuit, Afghanistan in its present state is about as ready for democracy as Israel is for a two-state solution. Clearly, too, the current NATO strategy is in dire need of re-assessment if it is to avoid the same ill-fated end as the 19th Century British and 1979 Soviet incursions. It is said that the only time Afghans have truly united is to repel intruders, and having rejected against all odds British Imperialism and Soviet Communism, there can be no doubting Afghan strength in the face of similarly unwelcome Democracy.
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
Enemies of the human race Iseult McLister investigates the recent rise of piracy off the coast of East Africa and its implications. Are these pirates really redundant fishermen venting their fury at Somalia’s poverty and misery on unsuspecting seafarers?
HEY CALL themselves coastguards, not pirates, says Garowe resident Abdulkadil Mohamed about the Somali fishermenturned-pirates who are effecting global economics and international trade so much that the big powers of the world are starting to take action. The Saudi Arabian-owned super tanker, the Sirius Star, is comparable in size to a US aircraft carrier. In November 2008 it was captured by Somali pirates in what was the biggest ever seizure of one hundred million dollars worth of oil. Somali piracy is an issue with global-economic consequences in a world where 80% of international goods travel by sea and according to an analyst at RAND institute, “piracy is not going away…it’s getting more serious and more violent”. According to one Somali, “they have money; they have power and they are getting stronger by the day”. Pirates have made millions of dollars in the Gulf of Aden and have caused insurance rates and costs in the ocean routes linking Europe to Asia to rise. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) confirms that there has been an “unprecedented increase” in Somali piracy in 2009. This is becoming a most
“... because of piracy we have seen the availability of ships willing to carry food to the country cut by half” serious problem for international trade. The IMB found that global piracy figures for 2009 have already exceeded those for 2008. In the first nine months of 2009 there were 306 pirate attacks, compared with only 239 for the whole of the previous year. Somali pirates have taken 661 people hostage and six were killed. Their reach now includes the Red Sea, the Bab el-Mandeb straits and even Oman. Their ventures are more and more sophisticated and efficient, as their funds improve with successful attacks, and Daniel Sekulich, a journalist and expert on modern piracy, believes that “a misconception is that pirates are somehow haphazard individuals”. Modern technology is used to track and follow likely targets but when they hijack vessels they use hooks and irons, and climb aboard with ropes and ladders, they carry serious weaponry however, to threaten and sometimes kill hostages who are taken to Eyl, the pirate hub town. They are usually well looked after until ransoms are paid up. “The first day joining the pirates came into my mind was in 2006… A group of our villagers, mainly fishermen I knew, were arming themselves”, says the twenty-five-year-old Somali Dahir Mohamed Hayeysi, speaking on why he became a pirate. “Years ago we used to fish a lot, enough for us to eat and
sell in the markets. Then illegal fishing and dumping of toxic wastes by foreign fishing vessels affected our livelihood, depleting the fish stocks…The first hijack I attended was in February 2007 when we seized a World Food Programme-chartered ship with twelve crew… I only want one more chance in piracy to increase my cash assets, then I will get married and give up.” Most of the pirates are men between twenty and thirty-five who see very little opportunity to make money in a country that still, after seventeen years of war, needs food aid. The average ransom for a hijack is now two million dollars and the promise of such riches prevents inter-fighting and makes for a tight and efficient set up. There are three different types of men making up the typical group – the ex-fishermen, who know the sea and sailing vessels expertly enough to be considered the brains of the operations, the militia-men who worked for clan warlords and are seen as the muscle part, and the technical experts who run all the hi-tech equipment like tracking devices and satellites as well as military machinery. They all share out the profits and as time moves on and they become ever richer and better at what they do. However, more aggressive demands for bigger ransoms are becoming more common, increasingly raising the threat of violence in the region. Their weapons are bought in Yemen and Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. Militia-men drive them to Puntland in the North where most pirates are situated. It has been reported that businessmen in Dubai have been supporting and financing Somalian piracy and their need for guns. The British couple Rachel and Paul Chandler, who were kidnapped in October, have had a ransom demanded for their lives of seven million dollars, which is double the biggest ever payout to Somalian pirates. The Lynn Rival, the couple’s thirty-eight foot yacht on which they were continuing a post-retirement round the world trip, was boarded b y pirates around t h e Seychelles. Just days before their capture the Chinese cargo ship, the De Xin Hai, was hijacked with twenty-five crew on board. The Ukrainian vessel carrying thirtythree Russian battle tanks was seized by pirates who initially demanded a staggering ransom of twenty-two million dollars. Nick Davis, of the Merchant Maritime Warfare Centre, says that the area around the Seychelles is one of the most dangerous ocean zones in the world and in the last few weeks pirates have taken a
fishing boat, a container ship and a dry bulk carrier. “Nowhere off the coast of east Africa is safe: according to Andrew Mwangura, head of the East African Sea Farer’s Assistance Programme in Mombasa. It would seem that anything is a target for the pirates; from small yachts to massive tankers, and they seek opportunities wherever they can. If the ransom for the Chandlers is not paid soon they are intending to sell them to a fundamentalist Islamic group in Somalia called Al-shabaab, who have an interest in international hostages. It’s purely business. The constraints of international law about the use of force means that ships in pirate hot spots are unprotected. The risks involved in firing back at pirates are too great and would essentially create a war at sea. Also the delicate situations that involve hostages mean that military intervention can put lives at jeopardy. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) advises ship-owners to adopt measures such as having lookouts or travelling at speeds which would allow them to outrun the pirates but they move quickly and often at night. There is also no international legal system for piracy and some people have argued that an international court is needed, backed by the UN, with perhaps even an international prison for those convicted. The UN is making moves towards combating piracy and in December 2008, the Security Council approved an extension of the powers countries already had to enter Somali waters and chase pirates. One solution to the problem of not using force is the “Somalian stinger”, a device aimed at protecting ships from piracy, properly called the Buccaneer Ship-Borne Shore Launcher. The idea is that if a pirate skiff approaches, a length of strong rope can be fired into the
path of the vessel from the Buccaneer. A small parachute makes sure the rope flutters down to the surface of the water and the pirates, unaware that they have been fired on, speed over it and find their propellers hopelessly tangled. It is attracting interest from shipping companies around the world. Piracy has been created by the situation that the country was left in after Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991 and no effective government replaced him. The fractured Western-backed administration controls only the capital Mogadishu and the seat of parliament Baidoa, while pirates are mostly based in the northern Puntland region. On top of the fighting, famine, disease, drought and flooding has destroyed crops and livelihoods. Starvation is a major problem, and finding a solution has been difficult for aid organisations because Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be an aid worker. Last year, thirty aid workers were murdered. Hyperinflation has caused food prices to rise to 1600 per cent in a place where the poorest people live on one dollar and seventy cents a month. The U.N. has described the situation in Somalia as the worst it has been since the early 1990s. Jane Cocking, the humanitarian director for Oxfam, says that “the chaos on land creates the conditions for piracy to prosper at sea” and the World Food Programme (WFP) finds that because eighty per cent of food aid is delivered by sea, the hijacking of vessels has prevented most relief supplies from reaching the country. Josette Sheeran, Oxfam’s executive director, says that “because of piracy we have seen the availability of ships willing to carry food to the country cut by half”. Ms. Sheeran also stated that although pirates may have a romantic image on the silver screen these days, the picture might not be quite so pretty from the point of view of
someone stuck in a camp for internally displaced people in Somalia, dependent on food assistance for survival. It seems that piracy is both a result of the problems in Somalia and also is in some way the cause of them. The people themselves have said that one reason for the rise in piracy is that the former fishermen (many of whom are now pirates) have been put out of
business by trawlers from around the world taking advantage of the lack of government in Somalia to scoop up all the fish in its territorial waters. Piracy is estimated to have cost the world seventy to eighty million dollars last year but some organisations who believe that most crime goes unreported have guessed around sixteen billion dollars. The U.N. reckons that two hundred and fifty million dollars are needed to improve the security of Somalia this year, and the E.U. intends on creating a large police force to tackle problems there. Attacks have worsened despite the naval forces of NATO, the E.U. and the U.S. being deployed. The U.N. Security Council wants all
“...dumping of toxic wastes by foreign fishing vessels affected our livelihood, depleting the fish stocks…” countries to “take part in the fight”. The many pirate seizures have caused some of the world’s biggest shipping firms to switch routes from the Suez Canal and send vessels around South Africa. This could have affects on the cost of commodities and manufactured goods around the world. It is considered that making Somalia stable will help to beat piracy as foreign navies are having little effect. The UN has been unusual in its allowance of warships to enter Somali waters and this fact surely demonstrates how serious the situation is. Pirates have been seen as non-citizens with no rights for 2000 years and Cicero dubbed them “enemies of the human race (hostis humani generis)”. They are subject to the legal sanctions of any state that captures them. Piracy is understood as an international criminal act in the U.N. conventions on the law of the sea and other global treaties, including the European convention on the prevention of terrorism. In a sad way Dahir Mohamed Hayeysi, the twenty-five-year-old fisherman-turned-pirate, believes that the root to the problem was when they took away his livelihood and he reckons that “the only way the piracy can stop is if (Somalia) gets an effective government that can defend our fish. And then we will disarm, give our boats to that government and will be ready to work… Foreign navies can do nothing to stop piracy”. This truly is another example of the devastating affects of colonialism and the destruction it leaves in its wake across the world.
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
Standing shoulder to shoulder? government, calling for 85-90% of the administration to be replaced. The problem with such an overhaul is that the very people Karzai is most often urged to remove from the cabinet are the same people who keep him in power. A poll conducted privately by Afghans before the elections came up with a figure of eighty-five percent for the proportion of Afghans who wanted someone other than Karzai in power. His main opponent, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, said before the elections that if Karzai was to stay in power there would be “two scenarios: a rapid collapse or a slow unravelling”. The point that western leaders always very understandably sidestep in their criticism of Karzai
Gordon Brown has spoken out guardedly against Karzai’s relationship with “warlords and cronies”.
Committed to improving the world or leading a “narco-state”? President Hamid Karzai pictured with Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan and Fakhruddin Ahmed, Chief Adviser of Bangladesh. Photo: Andy Mettler Manus Lenihan Contributing Writer THEY CALL him “the mayor of Kabul”. In the chaos of occupied Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai’s nickname alleges that his power does not extend far beyond the capital. However, if a U.N. Commission is to be believed, he had at least enough influence to cheat his way to victory in the August elections. Abdullah Abdullah, who came second, pulled out of the planned runoff claiming that another vote would be equally abuse-riddled. For good or ill, it’s likely that Afghanistan’s fate will be bound up with Karzai’s for at least the length of another electoral term. But who is he? What are the implications of the Western powers’ support for him? Most importantly, what are the prospects for the Afghan people under his rule? Hamid Karzai is an ethnic Pashtun of the southern province of Kandahar, whose rise to power swiftly followed the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan late in 2001. Chosen as interim Chairman of Afghanistan’s government, his record was cleaner than those of many of the warlords of the Northern Alliance. His anti-Soviet past stood to him among the Afghan people, not to mention the rightwing Washington think-tanks behind the invasion. He began his reign the toast of Western leaders, with popular support at home and billions of dollars promised in international aid. One of the points of controversy with regard to Karzai has always been the presence of many of the above mentioned warlords his cabinet. Among the most notorious is his erstwhile running mate, Marshal Muhammed Fahim. This Tajik former commander of the Northern Alliance was paid millions by the CIA to support the U.S.-led invasion. He was made Defence Minister and Vice-President in 2002, despite accusations of having links to the drugs trade, of murdering prisoners, and of orchestrating kidnappings. Another unsavoury character is General Abdul Rashid Dostum, a former General in Communist Uzbekistan. He, too, fought against the Taliban during the 2001 invasion. It was then
that the most infamous event linked to Rashid Dostum occurred. He and his militia brought a convoy of Taliban prisoners into Sheberghan, in Northern Afghanistan, stuffed into shipping containers. On arrival, an estimated 2000 were dead- through suffocation and through bullets fired through the metal walls. The bodies were buried in the desert. In early 2008, all evidence of this atrocity was destroyed. After having been exiled, he was welcomed back after promising to help the President in his re-election campaign. A campaign official of Karzai’s said that Rashid Dostum could “deliver” over a million votes. Ahmed Wali Karzai, the President’s younger brother, runs a CIA-funded
Well-educated, Westernised and stylish President Karzai was feted by Western governments. paramilitary group, the Kandahar Strike Force. Plenty of evidence points to his involvement with the illegal opium trade, a business that brings hundreds of millions of dollars through Kandahar each year, and finances the Taliban. Many officials with similar records have been removed, but Wali Karzai seems to be immune. U.S. Officials recently revealed that he has been receiving CIA paycheques for the past eight years, though he still denies it. Gordon Brown has spoken out guardedly against Karzai’s relationship with “warlords and cronies”. U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has bluntly called Afghanistan under Karzai a “narco-state”. However, despite Obama’s initial cool posture toward Karzai, he has been forced to revive Bush’s arguments in Karzai’s defence. US officials argue that due to the situation in Afghanistan, a country with no national unity and a fragile government, the support of these strongmen is vital, however distasteful, for Karzai. They argue that Afghanistan
has never been ruled but through a network of local power-brokers under a government. They argue, in other words, that Afghanistan is not suitable for the fabled democracy they have promised to bring to the country for decades. The situation in Afghanistan, quite aside from the war, is indeed dire. Apart from the illegal opium trade, the economy is heavily reliant on foreign aid- a great deal of which seems to disappear into a multitude of bureaucratic pockets. The life expectancy of the average Afghan stands at forty-four years. Sixty percent of Afghan children are not in school. In this context it’s easy to see why radical groups like the Taliban, and brutal gangsters like those above mentioned, might enjoy such support as they do. Of course, support for the Taliban has increased of late. Over the last four years alone membership of Talibanlinked insurgent groups has leapt from 7,000 to 25,000. Anyone who reads the papers from time to time will have noticed a remarkable increase in reports of battles and bombings along a corresponding timeline. What happened? In light of a close examination, the occupying powers’ criticisms of Karzai look like little more than an exercise in buck-passing. As in Iraq, their outlook was, at the start of the occupation, overly optimistic. They engaged in a programme of “nation-building lite”: they focused troops and funding in the more stable and prosperous areas, such as Kabul and Herat. More “difficult” areas such as the south-east, already the Taliban’s heartland, were left, without adequate troops or funds, to decay and decline. This north-heavy development must have played right into the hands of the Taliban. In fact, many of the insurgent groups pigeonholed as “Taliban” or “Al-Quaida” are not motivated by a jihadist ideology at all, but by anger at the occupation and at Karzai’s government. Mr. Karzai’s speeches raise prominent issues within Afghan society. He is often outspokenly critical of the occupiers, though obviously not the occupation itself. He has spoken out particularly in relation to two methods of the occupiers- airstrikes, which all
WHO ARE THE TALIBAN? THE TALIBAN emerged in the early 1990s in northern Pakistan following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. It is commonly believed that they first appeared in religious seminaries which preached a hard line from of Sunni Islam. A predominantly Pashtun movement, they first came to prominence in Afghanistan in the autumn of 1994. The Taliban’s promise was to restore peace and security and enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, once in power. In both countries they introduced or supported Islamic punishments. The attention of the world was drawn to the Taliban in Afghanistan following the attacks on the World Trade Centre in September 2001. The Taliban regime was accused of providing a sanctuary to Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda movement. Soon after 9/11 the Taliban were ejected from power in Afghanistan by a US-led coalition, although their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was not captured - neither was Osama bin Laden.
In recent years the Taliban have re-emerged in Afghanistan and grown far stronger in Pakistan, where observers say there is loose co-ordination between different Taliban factions and militant groups. (Source: BBC)
too often kill innocent people, and arrests of Taliban suspects, which, he says, are no encouragement for wavering Taliban fighters to lay down their arms. He accuses the western leaders of a lack of understanding of the situation in Afghanistan, reminding us that the Afghan people “were being tortured by Al-Quaida and the terrorists before 9/11”. He added that before 9/11, western leaders were “asking [Afghans] to make friends with the Taliban and AlQuaida”. However, Karzai himself has plenty to answer for, and not all of it can be blamed on NATO. The astronomical levels of corruption in his government are a case in point. The New York
Times described a dinner at his palace in Kabul with U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, in which he defended himself from corruption allegations. He assured his guest (here, paraphrased by the NYT reporter) that “there was no corruption at all and that, in any case, it was not his fault.” Lately, Karzai has promised to force ministers and senior officials to declare their assets in order to combat corruption. However, such an obligation already exists under the High Office of Oversight, a body widely regarded as toothless. Many prominent Afghans have demanded an overhaul of Karzai’s cabinet, with one, Fazal Azeem Muhjadad, himself a member of Karzai’s
is the most obvious, and the primary reason for his unpopularity at home: he supports a foreign occupation, and relies on the force of the occupiers to stay in power. The recent elections serve to underscore this point. After an average turnout of thirty-five percent, and even as low as ten percent in places, it was announced that Karzai had been re-elected. Over 2,600 complaints were made to the electoral complaints commission, detailing instances of voter intimidation by supporters of both Karzai and Abdullah. Entire blocs of ballots were “delivered” by regional warlords who rule certain tribes and groups and tell them how to vote. Ahmed Wali Karzai is one of many who allegedly “delivered” hundreds of thousands of votes as well, by manufacturing fake ballot papers and by setting up “phantom” polling stations. What confounds outside commentators on Afghanistan, and Karzai in particular, is the question on which side the occupiers should err. On the one hand they risk acting arrogantly and counter-productively. On the other hand, they risk giving a free rein to a corrupt and self-interested leader, and propping up by force of arms alone an unpopular tyrant. Either way, they give the Taliban the best recruitment campaign it could hope for.
TRINITY NEWS Issue 6, Volume 56 Tuesday, 1 December 2009 6 Trinity College, Dublin 2 www.trinitynews.ie
STRATEGIC PLAN “ACTIONS” SHOULD BE TREATED AS SUCH On Thursday last, the college officially launched its strategic plan for the period 2009-2014. This rather dry document outlines the goals of the university for the near future, and what will be achieved: something which is particularly interesting in that the document outlines 76 concrete actions that the university will take. Yet, as we come to the end of a decade, it is very easy to remember that all this and more has been said before. These past ten years saw, for the most part, Dr John Hegarty as the custodian of the university in his role as Provost. Prior to the publication of the last strategic plan, Dr Hegarty confirmed in an interview with Trinity News that the creation of a student centre “was firmly in the pipeline,” following which it was included in the plan. However, after innumerous delays, no such structure is complete, or even underway. Hence its inclusion as action 4.1 in the new plan, with a promise to complete it at a cost of €22m using a student levy in addition to Foundation fundraising. It is the same plan, delayed by years, and those responsible for the project would do well to remind themselves that planning is worthless without the resolve to complete projects. We have written before on the dangers of compartmentalising student activity, and this warning is not an endorsement of the aforementioned plans; merely a criticism of the inability to follow them through. The plan also includes the goal of raising student numbers by 15%, to approximately 18000. At a time when the Oireachtas Education Committee is looking into how the university spends its student-generated funding (and it has become apparent that only one third of the “registration” fee goes towards student services and registration) one might question the reasoning behind expanding numbers. As we look into the next decade of the college, we should be equally aware of our shortcomings as of our successes. Only by an honest and frank assessment of mistakes made can we progress, and only by truly demonstrable progress can we justify five-year plans, strategic or otherwise.
CLIMATE OF FEAR DAMAGING TO STUDENT ACTIVISM AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM The Students’ Union library sit-in, reported on in this issue, took place last weekend amidst a cloud of secrecy. The event was attended by a mere 60 or so students, despite the fact that many more feel strongly about the issue of library cutbacks. The union leveraged social networking tools heavily in this campaign, with video updates broadcast frequently, and a “Save Trinity Library” group on the Facebook website which had over 2000 members. Why, then, the low turnout? This is one student action where apathy among the student population cannot be blamed. The action was kept a secret within the Students’ Union until Saturday, with only those who would be directly involved being notified. This, sadly, reinforces the stereotypical old image of the Union as a “closed shop” of individuals who spend their days in House 6, and have little in common with the average college student. It is not in the interests of an independent publication to award praise and heap criticism except where warranted, and we find ourselves with a sense of regret at the lack of widespread student involvement, coupled with understanding the challenge faced by the Union. Dr Stokes, the Junior Dean, arrived at the scene on Saturday and told the assembled students she wished she had been informed in advance so that she could have facilitated the action. Many column inches have before been dedicated to the Junior Dean in this paper, and rather than re-cover old ground, the reader may draw their own conclusions as to what might have happened had the union sought permission to occupy a college building. This climate of fear, of being “caught”, is the cause for the limited discussion of this, and other, student actions. It is the same fear that has been discussed in this publication before in relation to the lack of outspoken debate among academics in relation to college policy.
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
LETTERS TO THE Editor should be sent to email@example.com or to Trinity News, 6 Trinity College, Dublin 2. The Editor reserves the right to edit submissions for style and length. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Trinity News, its staff or its Editor.
The terrors of Trinity Hall I AM a 22 year-old first-year medical student at Trinity College Dublin. I moved into Trinity student residences in September of this year. It was great to make friends with other students, but the problems started from day one. My room was in the Cunningham building of Halls on Dartry Rd. (in Rathmines), and I shared one toilet and one shower with six guys, and one kitchen with 13 others. In this H1N1-era I was surprised that there was no hand-soap in the communal bathroom and, despite my requests, none were put in. Also, two of the three lights in my room were broken and this took weeks to fix. Sanitation in the kitchen wasn’t much better, with our sole sink constantly getting backed-up. I wasn’t surprised much by the petty theft of my food or the waking up at 3am to people being too loud; these are college dorms after all. But, lines were crossed when partiers vomited in the kitchen and broke into my neighbour’s room. The accommodation management wasn’t much help; they seemed more concerned with
not bothering our wealthy neighbours with anything on windowsills or noise past 11:30pm. We were all told to be particularly respectful because Rathmines is an area where people pay quite a lot of money to live. Meanwhile my hall-mates were dealing with more serious problems such as having roommates who plugged smoke detectors. Exhausted of all this (and the busy 25-45 minute commute to our actual campus) I moved out of halls one month ago into a nicer (and cheaper) place next to the college. Unfortunately the problems of Trinity Hall continue to follow me. I stand accused of not returning my room key when I moved out. Despite repeatedly explaining how I handed my key to the guard who was working at the reception desk, the management believes I lost the key and never handed it in. I am told that I will be responsible for paying to have someone come in to replace the lock and have new keys made, even though another resident has already moved in using a spare key. I asked the office to review their
CCTV footage to clear up their erroneous accusation, but this was to no avail. The Warden did not resolve the problem either. I recognise that there are challenges in managing over a thousand residents, but this is unacceptable. I took out a huge student loan to be here; residents pay between €550 and €700 per month for a single room with no available food service. I’m told my due refund for my remaining balance won’t be processed for a while yet because my original payment was lost in their system – and I was told that this is my fault because I couldn’t pay by credit card. Still, I am a lucky one. Move out after January 1st and you’re liable to pay for the whole term if no suitable student is found to take your place in halls. In the end I am thankful for having met some great people at Halls, but I would advise prospective residents to think again. Robert Obara JF Medicine
Better portership in Dublin OLD TRINITY by PETER HENRY
IN THE last Trinity News this column quoted a few lines of a 19th-century poem which, I feel, ought to be reproduced in full. The Examination Hall is a parody of Locksley Hall, one of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s less well-known works. It was written by Charles Pelham Mulvany, a Scholar who took his BA in 1856, and was published in the college periodical Kottabos. The meanings of some of the more obscure references were explained by Kenneth Bailey in a letter to TCD: A College Miscellany in 1934. Bailey, Junior Dean at the time, had not seen Mulvany’s original poem; he only had a version written down from memory by Provost Jellett’s daughter. It’s interesting to see what had changed in Mrs Poole’s from-memory version, which is printed in the November 29, 1934, number of TCD.
Bailey says that the repeated “yes” of the 17th stanza is in imitation of Richard Townsend, who was elected to Fellowship in 1845. Dr Luby was a Fellow who died in 1870. “Jude” of the ninth couplet may have been the tavern of that name which could be found on Grafton Street until 1873. The meanings of “Gough” and “Kinsley” (which Mrs Poole had remembered as “Goff” and “Kelly”) eluded Bailey, and will remain a mystery for us. We can make some of our own observations. The fourth stanza gives a nice description of the hood worn by bachelors of arts. A jib, as we know, is a first-year student. The “so call’d University” is, of course, the Queen’s University of Ireland, established in 1850. Night roll was the evening roll call which all students living in college were required to attend, at which the Junior Dean presided. Mickey Roberts is the student’s Tutor; if he is not fictional then he may be Michael Roberts, Ex-Sch, MA, who became a Fellow in 1843. He is “caution’d”, and this gives some difficulty. A note in Echoes from Kottabos tells us that this is a Trinity College word for “plucked”, which doesn’t help much. We can assume that it indicates failure of some kind, which can be remedied by extra work or by repeating an examination.
The Examination Hall ’TIS the place, and all around it, as of old the porters loll, Velvet-capp’d and gaiter’d, guarding the Examination Hall.
Enjoy the poem. I think some of today’s undergraduates will identify with the student of Mulvany’s verses. It certainly reminds me of some of my close calls. WHILE SEARCHING for Bailey’s commentary on The Examination Hall I noticed a few sentences in that term’s TCD bemoaning the encroachment of the word “fresher” at the expense of “jib”. I hope the reader is not tired of hearing about the latter word, but I think this short piece marks the beginning of the decline of “jib”, which had surrendered to “fresher” by the 1950s. Here is that paragraph in full: “On a couple of notices at the Front Gate, lately, the odious word “Fresher” has been prominently displayed. Men in their first year here are officially called “Freshmen” and colloquially “Jibs”. What precisely a “Freshers’ Squash” may be we cannot say, but those who are responsible for such functions might very well abstain from describing them by a vocable as unpleasant as it is unfamiliar.” It’s now far too late to even attempt to eradicate “fresher”, but I will be avoiding it, for the sake of anachronism if nothing else. firstname.lastname@example.org
“Yes, yes, yes, my poor, dear fellow, it has given me much distwess. You’ve been pluckt by Mr Woberts – yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.” What is this? Mick’s face is smiling: he may let me off at last. Go to him: it is thy duty. Tutor, get me, get me pass’d.
College Hall, that in the distance overlooks the College Park, Whence the daring Senior Freshman scales the railings in the dark.
He will answer to the purpose easy things to understand – Better I had never enter’d than have come beneath his hand.
Many a morn from yonder casement, as I can remember well, Have I look’d on boozy Sutton sloping slowly towards the Bell.
Better had I turn’d to commerce, and avoided this disgrace, Vaulting counters at McBirney’s, or at Manning’s selling lace.
Many a time I saw the graduates, tangled in their sheepskin hoods, Looking like a drove of donkeys with a pack of woollen goods.
Cursèd be the Murray’s Logic which confounded my poor brain; Cursèd be the “Locke’s Abridgment” which I stew’d so long in vain;
Here beneath the classic cloister did I spend my early days O’er the Elements of Euclid and the metres of Greek plays.
Cursèd be those books of Homer which, forsooth, they call divine; Cursed be tangent and co-tangent, radius, secant, and co-sine!
Here I studied Vulgar Fractions, vainly striving to get off What would pass my Term in Science and the long results of Gough.
What profession shall I turn to, lighting upon days like these? Every door is barr’d by custom, and but opens to Degrees.
Then I dipt into the future with anticipating eyes, Seeing visions of Gold Medal and of mathematic prize.
So my heart leaps up within me, beating strong against my ribs, To be in some sort of college, in among the throng of jibs –
In the Term the seedy grinder wishes he had newer clothes, In the Term a deeper purple tinges Dr Luby’s nose.
Jibs my brothers, jibs the workers, ever mugging something new, All the books they stew’d but earnest of the books that they shall stew.
In the Term to Jude and Kinsley heavy debts the students owe, In the Term the Freshman’s fancy turns towards his Little-go.
I will drop my term in Dublin, go to one among those three Colleges that constitute a so-call’d University.
Then his form was plump and squatter than was meet for one so small, And as I perused his face, I did not like his looks at all.
Smaller competition in them, thinner classes, many a prize Which will glad the student’s spirit, and delight his parents’ eyes.
And I said: “My Mickey Roberts, let me pass, and pass me quick. Trust me, Mickey, if you do so, I’ll consider you a brick.” On his chubby cheek and forehead came a colour and a light, As I’ve seen the ruddy liquor mantle in “the Shades” at night. And he turn’d, his utterance broken with a sudden storm of damns, Or at least with language borrow’d from the more emphatic Psalms,
Never thither comes a Proctor, there no tutor e’er is seen, There the jibs live out in lodgings, dreading ne’er a Junior Dean; There, methinks, would be enjoyment more than in these classic halls, ’Mid the Night-rolls and the Chapels, fines and “catecheticals.” There my genius, cramp’d no longer, shall at last unfetter’d be; I will take some steady grinder, and will read for my degree. Fool! again the dream, the fancy, what I’ve said is all a fib, For I count the Queen’s Professor lower than the Dublin jib.
Saying, “I your note will alter to a very different song.” Saying, “Do you think I’ll pass you?” – swearing – “then I think you’re wrong.”
I to herd with dull provincials, stupid dolts with addled brains, Dull as ere the yearly cleaning are the College window-panes.
O, my Roberts, stony-hearted! O, my Mickey, mine no more! O that odious, odious Livy! O that horrid, horrid bore!
Not in vain my tutor nags me! harder, harder, let me stew. I’ll go in for the post-mortem, and I’m certain to pull through.
What is this my tutor tells me? I am caution’d, and what for? Just because I couldn’t date that wretched Second Punic War.
Through the shadow of my “Caution” I shall sweep into my work: Better portership in Dublin than professorship in Cork.
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
Rose-tinted Christmas cheer Cathal Wogan Staff Writer THE REALISATION finally dawns upon you and it stares at you, like some kind of annoyingly crude simile with big, unflinching eyes. You’re pretty drunk. It is about four o’clock on Christmas Day. You’re watching Only Fools and Horses, waiting for Blackadder and planning to watch Father Ted when the candles are burning low. Come dessert you’ll be scuttered and thinking about where you’re going on St Stephen’s Day. It seems to need no questioning or explanation. Obviously we get drunk on Christmas day; it is tradition. While Christmas drinking habits may have changed with the eradication of the working classes in Ireland, they still flourish in their different guises. On Christmas Eve there are lines of biblical length running out of the doors of supermarkets and off-licences. Never let it be said that the Irish aren’t a thinking people. They have thought out their drunken Christmas routine so well that their individual shopping baskets (or trolleys) should, hopefully, be enough to
get them through. A checklist must be made and fulfilled or Christmas will fail entirely. Red and white wines are integral to an adequate Christmas celebration. The new bourgeoisie have thankfully melted some of the shadier points of les neigies d’antan. I’m referring to visiting whiskey, a phenomenon that saw a lot of drunk driving on Christmas Day in the past. However, the new breed has replaced that whiskey with wine. Wine of any colour is allowed all day. To crack open a couple of cans of sneaky stout at one o’clock is not socially acceptable. While not unacceptable, spirits might be a little strong early on, limiting your ability to talk about socialism with your young aunt who is involved with the Labour Party and is not shy about smelling like it. If I were to be making the choice, I would go for a case of lucky dip €10 Spanish Rioja that, strangely enough, always smells like Christmas. Weird. Fleshing out that Christmas trolley of alcoholic happiness is the beer. As I have mentioned previously, cans of beer can’t be your base booze for the day if
you wish to keep up with the Joneses in the race that is social acceptability. That said, a cold can or bottle of beer can be functional in three ways. Firstly, it will put space between strong glasses of wine, which as you might guess, can save your Christmas in a way that Macaulay Culkin can’t. Secondly, as family visit and you offer them drinks, you’ll be able to identify the alcohol philistines and have a chuckle as an unassuming nephew chooses lager rather than your Christmas Rioja. They clearly haven’t ascended socially. Lastly, your choice of beer at the right time can signal you as somebody venerable who knows about things. So, if you’re buying beer this Christmas Eve, make sure to go for stout, cream ale or unusual lager and avoid, at all costs, your desire for lovely cans of Bavaria. If you’re drinking cold Moosehead after dinner then you are respectable. If you are drinking warm Budweiser at two o’clock you are a pleb. Fact. Another must-have that you, eh, must have is your gin. The choices here aren’t difficult. You will need at least two bottles of gin, but not just ordinary
A bottle of Powers will go down a treat. It will scald the tongue from your mouth but it will look good. Choosing Powers will let everybody else know that you have an opinion on whiskey and, let’s face it, having an opinion is all that matters. gin. An unquestionable social faux pas comes in a bottle with Cork Dry or Gordon’s written on it. Your guests will be unimpressed if you do not have Bombay Sapphire gin at the least. Real luxury might see a bottle of Tanqueray opened up but this might just be showing
off. To complement the gin you’ll need tonic. Large bottles of tonic will not do the trick unfortunately as they go flat too easily. What you need are little cans of Schweppes Tonic that are good for a large gin each. Lemons and limes are obviously obligatory and must be freshly cut or you risk alienating your guests through your dastardly inconsiderate ways. To finish, a bottle of Jameson is too obvious and a bottle of Paddy (or a bottle of tourist as they call it in hotels) is just cliché. So, to wash down your gin and dinner you must make the right choice whiskey-wise. A bottle of Powers will go down a treat. It will scald the tongue from your mouth but it will look good. Choosing Powers will let everybody else know that you have an opinion on whiskey and, lets face it, having an opinion is all that matters. “Powers, plain, with a drop of water,” says the man who knows. With all that in your trolley or down your gullet, you can rest assured that your Christmas hasn’t been wasted. Slowly over the course of your day of drinking your mind will of course
wander. You might think of going to the pub the next day with your friends for a few creamy pints to discuss how brilliant it is to wake up to left-overs, revealing your kooky and individual ways of cramming said grub into your disgusting maw. After a while you might think of how bored of the notion of Christmas you are because, after an initial five minutes of pretending to like your gifts, you no longer really want Playstation games or rubbish books vaguely related to your college course. The last thoughts that might occur to you come as you poke at your apple pie. Over the course of Christmas day, whether consciously or not, you suppressed your disdain for your family and for the inevitable disappointment of Christmas with alcohol and they respectively did the same. You watched the Father Ted Christmas special for the sixth year in a row with a bottle of Rioja beside you and laughed yourself silly. You drank more money than you spent collectively on gifts for your siblings. You will have to perform this ritual over and over again, every Christmas, for the rest of your life. Brilliant.
HEAD TO HEAD: PORTMARNOCK GOLF CLUB
THERE MUST BE A POINT AT WHICH THE LUNACY COMES TO AN END STEPHEN KENNEDY
THE PERSISTENCE of women’s interest groups to appeal to the courts and push for legislation condemning the right of a private club to have discretion over the gender of their members has become a regular special in Ireland. Since 2004 action of some description has been pursued on three separate occasions against the byelaws of Portmarnock Golf Club on the grounds of its exclusivity. This includes the High Court case three years ago which backed the club’s regulations. The argument put before the Supreme Court recently was taken on the premise that Portmarnock Golf Club was simply a place to play golf and therefore has no grounds on which to exclude women from becoming members. Mrs Justice Susan Denham, one of two judges who found against the club, concluded that Portmarnock was a discriminating club as its principal purpose was golf. Apply this criteria to the other side; the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) incorporates 158 women’s interest groups. It is in essence guilty of the same crime it attempts to rule against - catering exclusively for the interests of one gender over the other. Furthermore, opposed to the case of a private club, the NWCI receives €1 million of taxpayer’s money to fund it each year and is registered as a charity (so no taxes I’m thinking?). To apply this logic even more broadly, what are we to think of the Irish Women’s Lawyers Association? Illegal? They should know! Add to this the fact that women are given the opportunity to play golf on any of the golf courses available to members upon the payment of green fees, at the same price as any non-
SOCIETY DIARY SORCHA POLLAK IMMORTALISING THE SOUL ONE OF the first things that comes to mind when the name Oscar Wilde is mentioned is his unforgettable novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. For over onehundred years the two have been inextricably linked, as the Picture was the only novel that Wilde ever completed. Over the past few weeks emails have begun to filter around promoting the upcoming event, “A Portrait of Dorian Gray”. I will admit that at first glance I brushed it aside as a regular student event not worth my time or energy. However, on further inspection, I decided I might as well take at look at what this Wilde-inspired project could be. In this twenty-first century in which we live, everything is immediate. Wants and needs are satisfied at the click of a finger, with no need to wait. Life for
member male golfer, and you begin to see that the chauvinist golf club is more PC than the equality group purporting to champion equal rights for the sexes in this case. So what is all the fuss about? Nothing to do with golf it seems. The Equality Authority’s complaint against the club is that the exclusion of women from the bar and clubhouse at the golf course leads to the economic and social determent of women as a whole. However, bearing in mind that Justice Denham saw the club to be in breach of the Equal Rights Acts due to the fact that its primary function was as a place to play golf this seems to be beyond the realm of the issue. Nevertheless, this idea seems to be based on the out of date stereotype of pintwielding power-houses (male of corse) striking business deals in the golf club at the weekend. This myth is as unrepresentative as the idea that women remain in this day and age tied to the kitchen sink with no economic prospects or independence from their husbands. So to what extent will this emasculation continue? Would it be fair for the equality councils to turn next to The Little Rascals and demand that the “Women Welcome” sign erected at the end of the movie (sorry about the spoiler) be ripped off the door of their “boysonly” club and replaced with a name like “The We Welcome All Members Of All Genders And Of All, Common Or Not, Interests Club”? Should there be a quota for the number of women included in the starting eleven of a professional football team? There must be a point at which the lunacy comes to an end and a club such as this, a club set up by private individuals in order to cater to their common interests, is given full discretion on an issue such as the gender of their members. Aside from the rights or wrongs of this case, the only difference between Portmarnock Golf Club and the NWCI, and the blinding irony of this case, is that the latter are advocating an agenda. The members of Portmarnock should stand in fraternity against the exclusion of house pets from Dublin Zoo.
us, the generation of the new millennium, is quick and hasty. So what happens when you take that speed away and retreat to a former slower pace of life? This is exactly what CSC secretary, David Adamson, had in mind when he came up with the idea of his “Dorian Gray” project. Why not make people hold back for a while and postpone the immediate satisfaction they are accustomed to? This is because the Gray project is essentially a photo-shoot for students and staff, but with a twist. Over the past five or six years the wonder of being able to see a photo straightaway has changed the world of photography. We’ve become accustomed to correcting our image, re-taking the photo to perfection. But are any of us perfect? When we look back on our youth do we want to see a photo cropped and cut to excellence or would we prefer to see an image of the reality we were living, the people we really were? This is what Adamson has created for us; the opportunity in ten years to look back at the people we truly were when attending Trinity College Dublin. Oscar Wilde is probably our most famous alumnus, so it is unsurprising that Adamson has become so interested in creating events celebrating this important figure in literary history. With the success of two years of “The Oscar Wilde Trials” behind him and a National Student Award under his belt, Adamson believed that another Wilde event was worth doing. Will this event arouse the interest he is hoping for? The idea is to create an image through a collage of the photos
SUPREME COURT’S DECISION CREATES DE FACTO APARTHEID MARTIN MELVIN WHAT KIND of society do you want to live in? An open society or a closed society? A meritocracy where the good are rewarded for their efforts or a society of old boys clubs with old boy rules? The society that I want to live in is not one which would discriminate on the basis of presence of boobs and two ovaries but one which respects individual achievement as the benchmark of success. Golfing skill coupled with management prowess should surely be the basis of membership in golf clubs. Even if tweaks to this formula were required, discrimination on the basis of gender - as it is fundamentally a genetic condition - is wrong. The argument advanced that somehow Portmarnock golf club (that’s golf club) was somehow a private men’s club was a spurious point that should not have been recognised and was seen through by Mrs Justice Denham. I would instead propose that discrimination on gender under any circumstances is wrong. So what if a man wants to join the National Women’s League. Surely the benefits of an open and just society outweigh those who wish to have to private men only clubs. The principles which established this Republic are individualism. Freedom. The rights of men over Kings and Queens. To run and judge ourselves equally. Rights of individuals are paramount. Likewise no one is above the law and similarly no one should be discriminated by the laws of this country. The “Portmarcock” decision places men on top of women. How outrageous would it be if down’s syndrome or blacks were to be discriminated against? Yet the Supreme Court’s decision creates de facto a form of modern apartheid. Furthermore, rights have a tendency once
enacted to be expanded. The law of unintended consequences applies and suddenly this terrible precedent established by the Supreme Court can be read into other cases, expanding this flawed, discriminatory doctrine. Portmarnock’s case was strongly based on the putative “need” for 662 men to be separate to women. Need is something that is essential, a core requirement for living; however the Supreme Court has decided that the apparent needs of a few hundred members of Portmarcock golf club justify discrimination against the 2 million or so females on this island. Now that Portmarcock has gotten permission to discriminate, one wonders how many more clubs will start discriminating against women and what other areas of society will find the need to keep women out. Freedom of association, like many constitutional rights, is limited by other constitutional rights. Under Article 40.1 all citizens as human persons should be held equal before the law - unless, now, you’re a women where it is legal to discriminate against your membership of clubs. The preamble of the constitution also contains further persuasive evidence that the constitution was enacted so that “the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured”. The constitution does not qualify that statement with “unless you’re a women”. Thanks to the Supreme Court you’re now a little less free. The Portmarcock decision comes in a sport which has been regularly criticised for its social conservatism. Tiger Woods has spoken openly of the racist comments and harassment he suffered as a young golfer in California. At Augusta National Golf Club, which just seven years previously would have banned him from its greens as a black person, Woods in 1997 became the youngest ever and record-breaking winner of “The Masters”. While in the US, open discrimination on race is rapidly evaporating, in our “fair” island, we are taking a step backwards to the stereotyping of women as being somehow unfit to become members of what is a golf club.
taken of the Trinity College which we all form a part of. By creating a “portrait” of our university using images of ourselves, the students and staff, it should give our place of study a more personal feel, and help reflect on the ambiance and vibrancy of the college community we live in. I wonder, though, whether this is a slightly idealised image of our university? There is no denying that the four or more years that students spend studying here will be key to the rest of their lives, yet is college life as wonderful as Adamson is hoping to make it out to be through this project? The idea, despite its somewhat clichéd way of remembering “the best days of your life”, is aimed at reminding people that we are all part of a community here in Trinity. As Adamson himself pointed out to me, whether you study or teach, are involved in societies or not, whether you’re one of those people who wakes up early to go to the library or someone who never studies at all, we are all inevitably linked by our participation in the life of Trinity College. I discovered that one of the most interesting things about this idea is that it includes not only students, but also staff. I have often felt that there is quite an invisible, yet strong, barrier placed between the staff and students. Most of the time the staff are seen as living in a separate world from that of the students and there is a recognisable gap between the two groups. In a community in which we are supposedly all adults working in a learning environment, I often feel that
there is a large gap to bridge. Maybe this project is a step towards students and staff being viewed on an equal footing. So, what will the project mean for us individually, the staff and the students? Each picture will be taken in the Examination Hall in the space of two minutes. One shot is all we get, one chance at creating the image of ourselves we’d like to look back on. And then the portrait disappears, into the dusty, dark oblivion of Trinity College archives, storing with it a piece of our youth for us reflect on in ten years time. In a sense, this portrait turns us into to an immortal part of the college, an aspect which can never be erased. Because that’s what a photo does, doesn’t it? It immortalises our soul into a small image, something to retain and look back on in years to come, something for our children and their children to reflect upon. In ten years time, wherever we find ourselves in the world, the image will appear on our screens, through the medium of our Trinity email address, and will allow us to think about the youth which will forever be a part of this building on College Green. Oscar Wilde said “To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable”. Maybe this photo won’t actually retrieve our youth, but it will undoubtedly remind us of the spirit and vigour most of us have as students. On Monday we get the chance to immortalise ourselves. Why would anyone turn down that offer?
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
IN PROFILE: EAMON GILMORE
An unlikely hero Gilmore as the most popular leader in Irish politics? So say the polls – but why? Kris Wilson & Dan Reilly RECENT OPINION polls suggest Eamon Gilmore is currently the most popular party leader. Yes, it is astonishing. So with Mr Gilmore now a better than outside chance to become Taoiseach it’s worth taking a closer look at the less than wholesome history of the Labour hierarchy and its chief. It’s not so long ago that Mr Gilmore was a TD of the Workers Party of Ireland, formerly known as the “Official Sinn Fein”, the Marxist political wing of the “Official IRA”. The group that had cosy links with North Korea and the Soviet Union during the late 1980s. Comrade Gilmore when running for the leadership of the Labour party in 2007 received the backing of his fellow “stickie” Liz McManus and controversial politician Emmet Stagg, who was dragged into controversy when caught by the gardaí dispensing constituency advice to young homless denizens of the Phoenix Park. He was, after all, Junior Minister for Housing at the time. Appropriate. He neverthless remains a sitting TD for Kildare North. Gilmore himself proves to be a man full of contradictions. Speaking to the Sunday Independent on November 15th, Mr Gilmore suggested that the level of public anger here “is far wider than the template set by the miners strike in Britain”. Not true. Yes there is anger, but as yet the riot police have yet to be deployed and not one striker has been beaten to a pulp by a mounted cop. Yet this predictable leftist fear-mongering on the one hand is in stark contrast to his anti-union rhetoric on the other. Just where does he stand? Or is he prepared to adopt almost any position to try to
convince the electorate he is fit to lead? Again, take his staunch opposition to the public service national day of protest. Wasn’t the founder of the Labour Party James Connolly? Yet, Mr Gilmore accepts the need for the loss of public jobs while opposing acrossthe-board pay cuts, dooming many of the state’s loyal civil service to join the ever-increasing dole queues. Isn’t the Labour Party the party of the working class? Surely they want to keep people in jobs? Pure political pandering to the middle classes you may say. Yet if one looks at his tax proposals, Gilmore is in fact alienating the very section of society he is trying to woo. He proposes a third band of income tax of 48% on earning in excess of €100,000. While doing nothing to address the ever-widening gap between rich and poor in our society, such a measure would surely drive the achieving, educated middle class out of Ireland. This is followed up with targeting landlords by removing the government tax breaks that have kept them above water in these hard times. The property developers and bankers of this country may have questions to answer regarding this recession, but the landowners of this country do not. Nor in fact do we, the students, who will of course feel the bite of Labour cutbacks were they to come to power. Such tax increases combined with higher rents could adversely affect college-goers in the future. Labour’s answer to the glut of vacant properties is not the NAMA solution, but in moving people on rent allowance into privately owned properties. Uncle Joe would be proud. To their present election chances, Mr Gilmore recently ruled out a renewal of the 2005 Mullingar Accord, which was a voting pact between Labour and
Fine Gael in the hope of creating an alternative coalition government to Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. If Mr Gilmore’s proposals are so incompatible with the two larger parties, who would Labour go into government with? The only other party near their spectrum in Irish politics would be Sinn Féin - a prospect too chilling for most to contemplate. Mr Gilmore has already stated his desire to be the next Taoiseach of this country, the chances of which rest somewhere between slim and nil without Caoimhín Ó’Caoileáin as Tánaiste. Lastly, what must be highlighted is Eamon Gilmore’s sterling support of Irish human rights. I say Irish because Comrade Gilmore was a member of a political party who liaised with the North Korean regime who possess the worst human rights record in the world at the moment - defender of human rights indeed. Labour is no friend of the worker. Nor is it the friend of the middle class or the North Korean peasant. It is however, in no small part due to its leader, a threat to Ireland’s stability and economic future.
Civil service should not have pay cut Sarah Clarkin Contributing Writer
Two Trinity staff on the picket line at Pearse Street gate on November 24.
IN THE land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, and as a society, we all seem to be blind to anything other than the rubbish perpetrated by our government, with the result that characters such as the writer of last week’s “USI strike support strikes at students” are king. These are characters who believe every word they are told by the people who bought the past two elections by ensuring that our highest earners only pay between onequarter and one-half of what they pay in comparatively developed countries. The “competitiveness crisis” line is one being spun with the aim of concocting a smokescreen for the unequal, ineffective cutting of publicsector workers pay. There are so many reasons why further reducing the salary of public-sector workers is wrong that it would be impossible to go into them all. This public-private divide contrived by the government is serving only to obscure the fact that the government is an employer, and if it cuts its wages, so too will the private sector, and thus we have a race to the bottom. To state that the loss of multinational development from these green isles is not the fault of bankers and property developers is a downright lie, lacking even a grain of truth. During the week, Colm Doherty was awarded a salary of €500,000 to act as managing director of Allied Irish Bank, and already some
sectors are claiming that this is not enough, that managing directors of inept banks are paid more in other developed countries, and that we must compete with them! This is coming from the same people telling us that the average worker’s pay needs to be cut across the board, that social welfare needs to be cut, that child benefit should be cut, that Christmas should be taken away, and so on. How hard is it to see that the working poor were nowhere near the banks or the property boom that the government, banks and property developers primed either while it was inflating or deflating? Why should they shoulder the responsibility or the burden? There is no alternative. This is what Margaret Thatcher said twenty years ago as she single-handedly destroyed the miners of England, and this is what we are being told today. We must refuse to buy into it. There are kaleidoscopes of alternatives at our disposal, through a combination of ending wasteful public spending, reforming tax reliefs and increasing taxes on wealth. A commitment not to invest any more in AIB would serve to reduce borrowing next year by the precise sum required to tackle the deficit. As for the health sector, ending co-location and the subsidising of private practice in public hospitals, renegotiating the consultants’ contract and deeming it necessary for doctors and pharmacies to prescribe generic drugs would save
up to and perhaps exceed the sum of €750 million in 2010. Similar savings could be made across a wide range of governmental departments, rendering it unnecessary for civil servant pay to be touched. Another issue that could be wrestled with is the fact that not a single one of our high earners paid more than 25% of their total income in tax. Hold this in sharp juxtaposition to the middle income earners, where those on €50,000 paid over 20%. The fact that a large section of our population have been relieved of most or, in many cases, all their income tax responsibility, without any care for the future or the huge gap of billions in lost revenue, needs to be faced head-on. With regard to public-sector pay, a third earn less than €40,000 a year, and in health - the biggest sector - incomes are less than average incomes in finance, business, manufacturing, transport and communications. The OECD last year revealed that in divergence with other developed countries, the Irish public-sector was, contrary to popular belief, not overstaffed but smaller in stature. Also, the OECD clearly stated the fact that the Irish public-sector is efficient and had worked hard to meet the demand of an increasing population over 15 years. The pay of all public-sector workers has been cut by at least 7.5%, while independent research points to only 9% of private-sector bodies cutting pay, and even the employers body IBEC says only
21% have made salary cuts as opposed to the 100% continually implied. The myth that public-sector pay is on the increase is simply untrue. The fact is that many non-permanent staff in the public sector on the lowest salaries have been let go, and such a change in the mix has caused an apparent rise in average pay. Any further cuts in public-sector pay will not benefit the economy, and that is an uncomplicated, unadorned fact that cannot be disputed. The pension levy did absolutely nothing with respect to combating the decline of public finances; instead it merely hauled money out of local economies. Even when we eventually reach our Ithaca (which economists assure us is a long while off) there will still be great concerns to be dealt with. Each time we face such economic difficulty, those who reap none of the benefits shoulder all of the blame. We should support those who have been exercising their constitutional right to belong to a union and to strike so their voices are heard over the impossible din of misinformation. We live in a society, not an economy, but nurturing our society will not be to the detriment of our economy. Let this not be a period of history that we look back on and hang our collective head in shame. All workers are feeling the pain and are willing to contribute toward aiding recovery, but only if this contribution is equally dispersed. Unity and encouragement is needed, not culpability.
France protect national identity with Gaul James Kelly Staff Writer THOUGH THE French may not be in the good books of many Irish fans following the soccer drama of Thierry Henry’s already infamous handball, something very interesting is happening there right now: the revival of the Gallic spirit is imminent in France, or so Eric Besson, the Minister of Immigration, would have us believe, after he revealed plans for nationwide debates on national identity. Besson has said that the debate is a chance for the French people to decide what their “collective future” should be. Sarkozy is at the helm of the debate. He is probably hoping to turn attention away from the declining popularity of his party and presidency, as regional elections are set for this March. Following the scandals that have rocked his presidency lately, he will be looking
for anything to take the heat off him. The response in France has been mixed; Sarkozy’s supporters applaud the idea, while other sectors say this debate is just pandering to the whims of the farright and is being used as an electoral tool to distract attention away from the real issues of poverty and racism. This is not the first time the issue of French national identity has been used as part of a political agenda. Just look at the extreme-right JeanMarie Le Pen and his National Front Party who brought the debate into the political realm twenty years ago; although his view was much more xenophobic, it holds an entrenched position that immigration has diluted France’s cultural and social identity. Sarkozy is using this debate as part of his “get tough” attitude to immigrants in France and many have accused him of using fears over immigration to win support from the right-wing voters
who elected him in 2007. The national identity question is one that has been lingering in the background for some time. Sarkozy has taken increasingly insular actions in recent times, such as his denouncement of the burqa last summer, and indeed the creation of the Ministry of Immigration and National Identity itself in 2007. “Globalization erases a little more of every nation’s characteristics every day,” says Frédéric Lefebvre, spokesman for Sarkozy’s ruling Union for a Popular Majority Party (UMP), in defence of the debate. He alludes to the idea of “la douche France”, an ideal taken from Charles Trenet’s famous 1943 song which romanticised pastoral France’s traditions and people. The debate is to be held across France through a series of public debates involving typical pillars of society – teachers, local politicians, union leaders and so on. Whatever the reasons for the debate,
it has ignited a spark in France and its people, with a website dedicated to the debate receiving thousands of submissions. Both the leading papers of the left-wing (Libération) and the right-wing (Le Figaro) have jumped on the idea of revitalising the idea of national identity. The question of what makes the French “French” – what gives them that certain je ne sais quoi, has had many diverse contributions. From the leading French historian Max Gallo, whose ten-point plan included such topics as gender equality having a distinct “Frenchness”, to an online poster who cheekily submitted strikes as being “French”. The fact the debate on national identity has been placed under the immigration ministry, instead of the culture or even the education ministry, makes it easy for people to make a false connection between immigrants and the problem of fading French
national identity. For many people it is the fact that immigration and national identity have been lumped together quite haphazardly and the Ministry of Immigration and National Identity itself has been the subject of much criticism since its inception. Nonetheless, this is a very valuable debate for France and one that Ireland could take notes from. What makes the Irish “Irish”? During the boom years, Ireland had huge levels of immigration and now has a much richer tapestry of cultures and nationalities than it had even twenty years ago. More than one hundred years ago, the Gaelic League had asked the same questions. At that time, Ireland was fighting for Home Rule, which many people said the Irish didn’t deserve because they were, in effect, the same as the British – the same language, the same traditions, the same clothes and so on. The Gaelic League sought to prove that Ireland
deserved autonomy through the revival of Irish traditions, Irish folklore, Gaeilge and Irish sports. Today, Ireland faces a much different question about national identity. While white Catholics are still the most prominent group of Irish society, people of different creed and colour are more widespread and the national identity must include these people too. Whether it is France or whether it is Ireland, the issue of national identity is one which all states must face. As the world becomes increasingly globalised and the idea of our distinct cultures and identities become more blurred, we must ask ourselves what it means to be Irish or to be French in the twenty-first century. And this debate on national identity should have no political agenda, like what is happening in France. It is truly unfair to lump national identity together with immigration, as if it is the root of the “problem”.
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
ROUND UP AOIFE CROWLEY
COUNTRY ROCKED BY CHURCH SEX SCANDAL THE COUNTRY has been disgusted by the Murphy report, published last week. In the Irish Independent, Patrick Costigan calls for criminal investigations into the Gardaí and others who “colluded and conspired to aid the Catholic Church in covering up their crimes of child abuse and child rape.” An official Papal apology has also been called for. In the same paper, Seamie Clarke writes, “this holocaust of innocence has left me wondering does the God I believe in even exist.” In The Irish Times, Fintan O’Toole comments on the comparatively low incidence of reporting to Gardaí by communities, saying that the Church used their power over society to do “precisely what paedophiles do to the children they abuse. They convince [society] that they are the guilty ones.”
SHOCK REPORT: STUDYING CAN AFFECT YOUR GRADES LAST WEEK The Guardian reported that according to a new US study, there is a “causal effect of studying on grade performance”. This shock report may come as a surprise to some students who were unaware of a possible correlation between the two. The study’s main conclusion is that having a roommate who brings a video game to college can affect how many hours one studies, which can in turn affect one’s grades. For these insights, the study was awarded the Berkeley Electronic Press’s Arrow Prize in Economic Analysis & Policy. Glad to see money is being well spent in academic research. STUDENT GROUPS
HAVE YOU GOT BALLS? ASKS NEW OXFORD GROUP A NEW men’s group in Oxford University has provoked outrage. Called “Man Collective — Oxford”, they are seeking to promote discussion of masculinity and male mental health services. Their leaflet asks “Have you got balls? Literally. If you have, how does that make you feel?” Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, Christina Patterson responds that “Probably, one is tempted to answer, [having balls makes you feel] like most of the other people who have passed through Oxford’s hallowed portals over the centuries, and most of the people who run it, and most of the people who have been educated in it, and who have gone on to run the legal system and the financial system and the country.” POLITICS
FITZGERALD SHOWS NO CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT WRITING IN The Irish Times, former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald writes that, “Once this Government has taken the necessary first steps to start undoing some of the damage inflicted on our economy, it would be better for it to be replaced.” He believes that the current administration is damaging our international reputation, as well as failing to accept their share of responsibility for the crisis we find ourselves in. The country needs a government in whom they can trust. Meanwhile, in The Sunday Times, Bertie Ahern is quoted as saying that he trusted Ben his cat more than most of his peers in government. He goes on to say, “If I wanted to set out a rumour in Leinster House, all I had to do was say it to certain people.”
Sex and the celibate The issue of religious celibacy has taken centre stage once more in recent weeks thanks to the departure of a priest in a rural parish, but the issue extends back far further than that. Ross O’Mahony Staff Writer “WE ARE losing good men.” This was the reaction of Fr. Brian D’Arcy to the news that another Irish Catholic priest was stepping down due to the celibacy rule. Fr Sean McKenna was a priest for twenty-five years before announcing his resignation at Evening Mass two weeks ago in his parish of Ballymagroarty, County Derry. He was leaving because of his involvement in a “loving, beautiful and life-giving relationship” with a local woman, Elaine Curran. Such a relationship violates the vow of celibacy that Catholic priests take before their ordination. Fr McKenna’s decision was not greeted with the condemnation and criticism Bishop Eamonn Casey received when news of his secret affair with Annie Murphy broke seventeen years ago; instead his parishioners commended him, and they even gave him a standing ovation. The question must be addressed then: why won’t the Catholic Church allow its priests to marry? Why does it continue to enforce the doctrine that seems increasingly unpopular, unnecessary and unworkable? The crux of the argument centres around the idea of whether removing celibacy as a requirement detracts or enhances their ability to fulfil their duties as a priest. According to www.vocations.ie, priests look after the day to day spiritual needs of their parish and the celebration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist is the primary purpose for which priests are ordained. However it is obvious that priests have many other different roles: they are involved in teaching, caring for the sick and dying, missionary work, social work and more besides. It is a multifaceted role requiring a multitude of skills and abilities. The numbers going into the priesthood have declined to a trickle in comparison to the flow of young men
of only a generation ago. The reasons put forward for such a decline could not even begin to be listed in this piece, let alone be explained. It would be fair to say that celibacy is one such reason. Despite a massive public relations campaign by luminaries such as Pope Benedict XVI, George W. Bush, the Jonas Brothers, Jessica Simpson and Britney “Oops!... I did it again” Spears, celibacy is not popular, not widespread and not mainstream. Priests were not always forced to be celibate. It is not even a part of Church dogma or doctrine, but rather it is a Church discipline which could be reversed tomorrow if the Pope so wished. Many of the early Church leaders were married. We know that Peter, the Rock of Christ, had a wife. St Paul recommends marriage for Church leaders in his first letter to Timothy. It was still permitted up until the First Lateran Council held in 1123. Critics of celibacy and many historians would argue that one of the reasons for the implementation of this rule was to ensure the retention of Church property by preventing the existence of heirs who would look to claim some of their father’s wealth. It also helped increase the authority of the Popes and the obedience of priests to Rome. This is certainly one reason which no longer has much relevance. The Protestant churches have not had widespread problems with their system of married clergy and the financial issues involved. There have been protests that the cost of providing for a family is more than the Church can afford, but the salary for a priest in the Dublin Diocese stands at close to €33,000, while the average industrial wage is €32,000, on which many people manage to provide for a family while also having to pay a mortgage or rent. The repeal of the celibacy rule has long been discussed; in 1967 Pope Paul II spoke of celibacy as “a dazzling jewel” but conceded that “it is not required by
The no wives club. The Pope refuses to tackle the issue of married priests
the nature of the priesthood”. He upheld celibacy still, as have all his successors despite opposition and criticism even from within the ranks of the Church. So if even a Pope will admit that celibacy is not essential to the nature of priesthood, how can it be argued that making it a choice would hamper their ability to fulfil their responsibilities? Those who would lift the ban argue that it would bring manifold benefits to the priesthood, to the Church and to the community. On a practical level it would give priests a greater understanding and knowledge of the issues affecting his parishioners, enabling them to be more responsive to their needs. The experience of love, of the intimacy of married life and the experience and support of it cannot be underestimated. To criticise the Catholic Church for hypocrisy is almost expected; the spate of recent scandals have shown a huge disparity between its teachings and the actions of some of its priests and other members. Unfortunately when it comes to the issue of priestly celibacy there is again a difference between preaching and practice. The Catholic Church has married priests. Any married priest in the Anglican Communion who decides to convert and become a Catholic can continue to serve as a priest and keep his family. Also, Eastern Rite Catholics, who come under the authority of the Pope, allow married men to become priests, but not bishops. It is true that most of those who are married are not given parish work. Often they serve in schools or the chancery. This recognises that there
are different roles which suit different individuals with different experiences. The role of a bishop is to manage the placement of priests to areas he feels best suit them. One would think such a role would be aided by new priests with new experiences joining. Why is it that there is a dichotomy that suggests celibate priests are good priests but married priests would be bad or defunct – are the two roles mutually exclusive? It has been said that the role of a Catholic priest is more demanding than any other job, profession or lifestyle and that it would be impossible to combine it with married life. Yet aside from the fact that Protestant clergy manage it well, there are comparisons with other roles - that of a doctor, nurse, garda, firefighter and more besides. In his sermon on the feast day of St Lawrence O’Toole, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin spoke of the need for the Church to repent and renew itself, but addressing recent debate and criticism he stated it was “too glib to think that change in the Church will come about primarily through debate in a secular environment about church discipline … especially concerning marriage and conjugal morality [which] have different meanings in society and in the Church.” Intransigence such as this is expected from the Church, which reforms itself when only it is ready and sometimes too late. As all too often, its teachings on the matter are distinctly black and white but its practices are somewhere in the grey.
The price of the euro Jonathan Wyse Staff Writer ms A FEW months ago, David McWilliams ms offered his solution to Ireland’s problems by suggesting the abandonment of the me Euro. It is true that Ireland can only become her competitive again by repricing itself, whether ver, through deflation or devaluation. However, the Maastricht Treaty outlines no route for countries to leave the monetary union. ost The transition mechanism is the most pic difficult aspect of the debate, but a topic which has remained relatively untouched so gh, far by any commentators. First of all though, note that devaluation is no panacea. oss According to the IMF, total gross te, indebtedness of Irish residents (the State, nal the banks and the non-financial personal on and corporate sector) stood at €1,671 billion hat at the end of 2008. It should be stressed that uld this is external debt, i.e. money that would nd be owed by Ireland after the devaluation and on denominated in foreign currency. Devaluation eal could add hundreds of billions to the real burden of this debt, most of it private. de: Other ancillary concerns include: ce, loss of political credibility and influence, ate transactional costs in trade, exchange rate rm uncertainty for businesses, short-term eal brain drain and emigration. Increased real fuel costs will definitely hurt Irish citizenss – nce possibly considerably given our dependence sts on imported energy. There are also the costs of conversion to the new punt within the economy, which are not insignificant to any degree. uld Furthermore, the new currency could be open to aggressive manipulation by speculators. Although this is difficult to predict in the current financial climate, it could have disastrous consequences for investor confidence.
ng The main benefit would be increasing eeconomic activity in the state, as Irish labour our b rts becomes competitively priced. Irish exports w ess would become attractive and relatively less eexpensive. This would also happen within the he E ful Euro, but probably only after a long and painful p period of deflation and unemployment. en Deflation will increase the real burden o nt’s of Irish debt anyway, as the government’s lliabilities will only start to be paid back in eearnest once the country is back working ng aagain. Note that much of the money has been en rraised through sale of long-term bonds. h a Thus, the Irish people are faced with m hin mountain of real debt either way. Within E en European monetary union, the real burden iincreases gradually until deflation reprices ces IIrish labour – hitherto suffering high gh u eal unemployment. With abandonment, the real b burden explodes immediately but with an aaccompanying boost in economic activity and nd eemployment right now. It might sound good, od, b but is the latter option even possible? n’t The Maastricht Treaty certainly doesn’t tthink so. There would be nothing to stop op a sovereign state disagreeing. The main ain o nce obstacle is preventing capital flight. Since tthe measure will be introduced in order to iinitiate a devaluation, nobody will want to h his hold their assets in the new currency. This p ity. poses the biggest threat to the practicability. A uro Any sensible individual will shift their euro ssavings to another bank until after the he cchange-over, outside the state. nk Irish banks couldn’t survive such a bank rrun, and this would precipitate insolvency. cy. H bly Higher interest rates couldn’t possibly ccompensate for the currency devaluation on rrisk, as savers would much rather wait until ntil aafter devaluation to convert. The banks also lso ccouldn’t borrow in the inter-bank markets, ts, b ed because these debts would be denominated iin another currency.
Consequently, the Irish banks w would be paying exorbitant rrates to compensate for d default risk, while the rreal burden of this debt eexploded with devaluation. L Lack of available capital iin the financial markets aand the existing risk of d default compounded m make this an expensive iimpossibility. The alternative is that tthe Irish government b borrows this money, possibly ffrom other central banks. T The scale of the borrowing w would be enormous, and the ccredit-worthiness of the Irish g government is questionable even now. T gh This seems difficult to imagine, even though tthey would be paying most of this money back ack aafter devaluation. The catch is extremely ely h high interest rates to attract money into the ccountry, which creates entirely new problems ms ffor the nascent economy. ons Taxpayers would also be losing billions o nt. on the deal, in real burden of repayment. E External euro-denominated debts and lliabilities would also have to remain as such. ch. IIrish banks would be losing yet more money ney tthrough devaluation on their net external nal lliability, which is not insignificant. The tab b is p picked up by the taxpayer. ust Meanwhile the markets would only trust tthe new currency if they believed that the d devaluation was a singular event, but thiss is ccontingent on the devaluation being sufficient. nt. IIf it was underestimated even slightly, the ccapital markets could produce a financial cial ccrisis, as happened with Mexico in the 1980s. 0s. T This is not unlikely given the scope for p rsh political interests to prevent sufficiently harsh
devaluation. Another suggestion includes the s simple reintroduction of the punt as legal t tender at a fixed conversion rate (through m measures like public-sector pay and taxation), a and deserves consideration. There is also t Argentine model, whereby the banking the s system is intentionally destroyed through r redenomination. Ireland is confronted with a painful period o high unemployment, deflation and falling of p purchasing power of consumers. It may e endure for many, many years. Meanwhile, t the attractiveness of our exports to our m major trading partners, the US and the UK, i depreciating along with their respective is c currencies. The worst is yet to come. It might b time to start seriously considering all be p policies in the state’s arsenal. Jonathan Wyse Sch. blogs as The Free Marketeer at http://thefreemarketeers. w wordpress.com/
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
Alzheimer’s epidemic on the horizon
IN BRIEF PET scans are used as a tool for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. The brian scan on the right shows a healthy brain.
HAMMERHEAD SHARKS’ HAMMER-HEADS
As the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s grows each year, researchers strive to develop new methods of combatting the disease. Omar Mothersill takes a look at some of the current treatments and palliative care Omar Mothersill Contributing Writer ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE is on the rise. A global epidemic looms within the next 50 years, with the disease projected to increase 100% in the West and up to 400% in India and China. The strongest risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease is simply age, so the incidence of the disease will inevitably grow as we increase our life spans. In fact, estimates suggest that almost all of us would develop Alzheimer’s if we lived to be one hundred. With the disease currently incurable, there is a strong urgency to better understand it and create more effective treatments. Alzheimer’s disease strikes key regions around the brain, causing gradual cognitive decline and memory loss. At the onset of the disease, a protein called amyloid beta is overproduced, forming toxic plaques. These grow inside and around neurons, impeding their communication with one another. Other factors involved include tangles made of a protein, tau, although it is unclear exactly how these tangles harm cells. Amyloid plaques can kill cells in a number of ways, such as by switching on programmed “death signals” or by firing up the immune system to release toxins. In the most common form of the disease, cells perish around the brain in areas such as the hippocampus (which is involved in short-term memory) and in parts of the frontal lobes involved in long-term memory and more complex cognitive functions. We do not clearly understand the complete causes of the illness or how to stop it progressing, but research across the globe is painting a bigger picture of what is going on. Current drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s disease work by modulating
chemical messengers in the brain. For example, some drugs increase the availability of an important messenger, acetylcholine, while another works by blocking glutamate signals (glutamate is elevated under certain disease conditions and is harmful to neurons in large doses). Unfortunately, these drugs do not address the underlying causes of the illness. We really need to understand how to stop the tissue degeneration itself before we can come up with therapies to completely stop or reverse the disease. There are presently 400 clinical trials underway to further understand and treat Alzheimer’s disease, and new frontiers are opening up in the fight against the condition. Let us look at some of the main examples: Immunotherapy TODAY’S DRUGS do nothing to stop amyloid beta deposition, so this is a crucial target for therapies of the future. The immunotherapy idea involves a vaccine delivered to patients, which trains their immune system to make antibodies targeting amyloid plaques. Studies in mice showed that this method stopped and even reversed plaque formation. Unfortunately, a number of patients inoculated with one such vaccine in a trial developed an inflammatory condition resembling meningitis. Right now, scientists are trying to produce a vaccine that guides the immune system to strike plaques with accuracy without harming other cells in the brain. Gamma-secratase inhibitors ANOTHER POSSIBLE way to hit these insidious plaques is to target gammasecratase, a critical enzyme in the formation of amyloid beta. Gammasecratase inhibitors are going through clinical trials, with some results expected very soon.
This brian scan (left) shows in a patient with advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
PET scans on the right from an Oregon Health & Science University study. Copper and zinc removal AMYLOID BETA sticks strongly to metals, while interactions with copper and zinc can cause it to aggregate in Alzheimer’s. An anti-fungal drug called clioquinol removes these metals from spinal fluid, and animal studies have shown that the drug can cause plaques to deteriorate. A similar but more efficacious drug, PBT2, is undergoing clinical trials. Changing the brain climate AS WELL as trying to rid the brain of plaques, scientists are trying to tap into chemicals already present in the brain to help it heal. These include neurotrophins, naturally occurring proteins that tell neurons to survive and grow. Neurotrophins help us to learn and increase the development of new brain cells throughout our lives. Meanwhile, shortages of these chemicals may increase the cell death seen in Alzheimer’s. Neurotrophins cannot easily be administered into the brain, so future therapies may involve adjusting brain systems to release more of them. Early diagnosis UNTIL SOME of these therapies bear genuine fruit, we need to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in patients as early as possible so that everything can be done to prepare for it and attempt to delay progressive symptoms. On this front, researchers in Trinity last year came up with an ingenious new test for the development of early Alzhemier’s. This test will allow doctors to measure an enzyme called BACE1 in patients’ spinal fluid. BACE1 is another enzyme
essential in the production of amyloid beta, and the scientists have shown that it could be an important signal for developing the illness. Protecting the brain from old age NO MEASURE has been proven to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but scientists recommend a number of ways to keep the brain healthier during normal aging. These measures may also help protect against Alzheimer’s. The most effective measure is exercise. In lab animals, exercise increases the number of blood vessels in the brain, which can improve the supply of oxygen and glucose to neurons. Exercise also causes the brain to release neurotrophins, which could help brain cells survive longer. An effective way to improve cognitive performance with age is to try out mentally stimulating activities, like playing Sudoku. Finally, certain dietary factors could improve brain function with age. For example, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to exert neuroprotective effects in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease. Hopefully, new treatments will soon emerge, combining some of the brightest ideas coming out of the lab. Someone develops Alzheimer’s disease every 72 seconds, and by the middle of this century 81 million people on the planet are expected to have the disease. With these kinds of numbers, new therapies remain an outstanding challenge for us over the next few decades. The prospects for Alzheimer’s research are better than they were, but much, much more still needs to be done.
Are bigger brains better brains? Joanna McHugh Staff Writer SINCE FRANCIS Gall first outlined the science of phrenology, people have asked “are bigger brains smarter?” Phrenology claimed that personality traits were associated with head shape and size, and that a bigger brain meant higher intelligence. Certainly a controversial idea, the argument is ongoing, with Michael McDaniel at the Virginian Commonwealth University claiming that the l i n k
was valid across all age groups and sexes in 2005. This link is questionable; women’s brains are smaller than men’s brains, and few would be prepared to correlate this with intelligence comparisons between the sexes. Another well-cited point is that Einstein’s brain was averagesized. So, is there any advantage in comparing anyone’s brain size? O n e potentially illuminating path of inquiry lies in comparing the human brain to those down the phylogenetic line.
Darwin observed that there might be a link between brain size and intelligence, since humans are smarter than cats, for example. A recent review paper by Lars Chittka and Jeremy Niven at the Universities of London and Cambridge advocates this type of comparative research, even by comparing the brains of humans with those of insects. Insects can do a lot of complicated cognitive work with a limited number of neurons, showing that a large brain is not necessary for enhanced cognitive capacity. Indeed, the researchers compare this argument to computers; no one would claim that a bigger computer is automatically a more “intelligent” one. For instance, honeybees are far faster with regard to learning colours than any other animal, which, considering their small cerebral endowment, would suggest that size does not matter. If so much can be done then with such a small brain, why do we need bigger brains at all?
It has been suggested that a bigger brain leads to quantitative changes in cognitive capacity – more neurons equals increased ability to perform. For instance, animals with bigger brains have larger and more acute sensory systems and much larger motor behaviour repertoires than those with smaller brains. But at a qualitative level, it appears that insects can do as much as larger animals. A bulk of research has shown that insects are capable of many different learning processes, such as paying attention and processing sequences of events. It may be this ability to process in parallel in larger brains that bestows a cognitive benefit on animals with larger brains. This results in qualitative changes between honeybee and human and most importantly, allows for novel cognitive functions. This conclusion makes sense when the human history of ingenious problem solving in novel manners is considered.
TRINITY RESEARCH EILISH MCAULIFFE HEALTH SYSTEM STRENGTHENING FOR EQUITY HEALTH SYSTEM Strengthening for Equity: The Power and Potential of Mid-level Providers (HSSE), led by Eilish McAuliffe, Director of the Centre for Global Health, is a unique and strategic collaborative partnership among research, policy and advocacy organizations between northern and southern institutions. This project strategically aims to address the human resources for health crisis and support
health system strengthening for equity in Africa by building an evidence base on the role of Mid-Level Providers in maternal and neonatal health and promoting greater political leadership and critical policy action on this issue. MLPs are staff who perform critical functions conventionally associated with more highly trained and highly mobile health providers and, compared to doctors, are more likely to be present in rural health centres e.g. surgical technicians performing caesarean sections in Mozambique) HSSE’s focus on the delivery by MLPs of the Emergency Obstetric Care
signal functions (including emergency obstetric surgery) provides a strategic entry point to assessing the potential of task shifting to play a greater role in addressing the global Human Resources crisis in health delivery systems. The issue of task shifting is gaining increasing global attention. In HSSE’s focus countries for example, MLPs are already providing over 80% of all Caesarean sections at district level. Yet these health workers are virtually invisible in policy documents and government strategic plans. The unique partnership of advocacy and research organizations means
that HSSE has an in-built “knowledge broker”- serving as a catalyst to nurture the relationship between the policy makers and researchers ensuring the utilisation of findings for immediate policy action. Irish Aid’s support of the HSSE project recognises the importance of research translation to policy and the partnerships that can make this happen. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark has recently joined Irish Aid to share in the funding of this unique project that has the potential to transform the configuration and utilisation of health workers.
JUST WHEN you thought it was safe to go back in the water, a recent research program at the Florida Atlantic University has demonstrated that the distinctive head-shape of hammerhead sharks actually affords them superlative stereovision and depth perception. The study showed that hammerheads’ weird head shape can give them an incredible 182-degree field of vision. In addition to this wide field of vision, hammerheads benefit from up to 69-degree binocular vision (when eye and head movement is taken into account). These revelations help account for these sharks’ fearsome reputation as hunters of the sea and might make venturesome ocean-goers think twice before forging seaward.
CASSINI PROBE SPOTS SATURN’S AURORA THE CASSINI spacecraft has recently sent home to Earth the first video footage of Saturn’s own version of the northern lights; auroras shimmering above its northern hemisphere. Researchers hope that the data gained though exploration of Saturn’s aurora will aid in our understanding of similar terrestrial phenomena. This discovery represents yet another substantive find by the Cassini probe since its first entering Saturn’s orbit in 2004. In the course of its sojourn around the sixth planet, Cassini has identified, among other things, a previously unobserved planetary ring. It has also spotted evidence of liquid water erupting from geysers, and observed the first proof of hydrocarbon lakes on the moons Enceladus and Titan respectively. As Cassini goes boldly on where man has yet to venture in person, we continue to learn much about our solar system and the many wonders it holds. MEDICINE
STEM CELLS REPAIR LUNGS OF PREMATURE ANIMALS — HUMANS MAY BE NEXT RECENT EXPERIMENTS on newborn rats with underdeveloped and damaged lungs yielded very promising results. Stem cells were injected into the rats’ airways and promptly attached to healthy lung tissue, helping it to repair damaged lung tissue. The stem cells both repaired damage done and prevented further damage. This research promises to have great potential in human application. It offers the prospect of curing chronic lung diseases in newborns, and repairing damage resultant from premature birth. Studies continue regarding the long-term effects of this procedure. If no negative effects arise, this treatment might soon be a plausible human practice. Such development might however be delayed by opponents of stem cell research. Even if this procedure’s scientific and medical efficacy is determined, its use may be curtailed by political agendas, which could be beneficent or misguided.
BUSINESS & CAREERS
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
The Big Interview: Peter Sutherland Alex Hamilton talks to one of Ireland’s most famous sons about politics, the Arms Trial and his fragmented career path Alex Hamilton Staff Writer PETER SUTHERLAND has done a little bit of everything. A career at the bar turned in to becoming Attorney General, which in turn led an EU Commissionership, then head of the World Trade Organisation, chairman of some of the biggest companies in the world (BP and Goldman Sachs), briefs in the UN and World Economic Forum, not to mention being a financial advisor to the Pope, while balancing many chairmanships of other major institutions and companies. I had been warned about his “toughguy” reputation, and had been told to “know my stuff” if I was to come out alive. But my fears are immediately allayed by his friendly attitude the moment I picked up the phone. I start by asking him how he balances everything. He points back to his earlier days at the bar, his “formative occupation”, where he would have to manage a number of briefs at once. His 12 years at the bar had been the result of a childhood desire to practice as a lawyer, a passion which was kindled in the debating halls of Gonzaga College. A highlight of his career was the Arms Trial, “a trial I was very fortunate to be part of, especially as a young barrister”. However, no sooner had he been called to the bar than he was handpicked by a Fine Gael-led government to become Ireland’s youngest Attorney General at the age of 34. He had always had an active role in Fine Gael, “I was involved in the campaign to join Europe, and I was also close to Garret FitzGerald. I was also involved in economic policy with
ISEQ ROUND-UP IT’S BEEN another dismal fortnight for trading on the ISEQ with the Index closing down 1.3%. The top 11 stocks in the market ended the fortnight in the red. Once again the negative trend was driven by financials but on a macro level it has been symptomatic of an absence of confidence in the equity market. In a fortnight that saw the banks present their plans for survival to the government, AIB ended the trading period down 17.3% at €1.62, while Bank of Ireland fell 1.7% to €1.68. Irish Permanent closed the fortnight down a staggering 25.4% after it reported worse than expected results for the third quarter and announced a large property write down. The sell off in banking shares comes despite the announcement that NAMA will finally go ahead. Paddy Power surged 12% after it released an IMS reporting strong growth and a positive outlook only to pull back last week to finish the fortnight down 1.8% at €24.17. CRH also shed 1% after publishing disappointing earnings figures. Ryanair shares ended in negative territory, down 6.4% to €2.81, after it sent an ultimatum to Boeing, warning that they had until the end of December to agree a deal. Fyffes managed to buck the trend, up 12.91% to 43cent, after the EU indicated that banana levy dispute is nearing conclusion. Similarly Kingspan rose 7.8% to close at €5.82 after posting solid results for the third quarter.
the party for a number of years.” Did he enjoy it? Not particularly, and he draws attention to the huge pressures he faced at the time, not least Northern Ireland. However it is clear that even from a young age he had a zeal for public service. Mr. Sutherland stood for election in 1973 in Dublin North-West a post he narrowly missed out on. His successful tenure of the Attorney General’s office led to his participation as a Commissioner in the EU, an institution which he admires greatly. His portfolio was mainly competition policy, but one of his two proudest achievements in his life was as a result of his involvement with social affairs and education: “I was particularly proud of introducing the Erasmus Program. We wanted a mechanism to introduce to young people a perspective beyond the national borders in which they were brought up.” One cannot help but be impressed by his passion for Europe, which is evident when he gets talking about the subject. His success as a European Commissioner, but especially in the competition policy hot-seat, was to lead to the beginning of an illustrious career in business, serving on the boards of a host of major companies around the world. What led to his involvement in the dirty world of business, after having started as a barrister? “Well I was amazed, but I think that competition is probably the biggest business portfolio
in Europe, and I hope that I had had some impact and therefore was known in business circles as introducing competition, and taking on governments about state subsidies and companies about cartels.” He became chairman of AIB, and was involved on the boards of companies such as CRH, BPA, Shannon Aerospace and Delta Airlines to name but a few. What was his biggest achievement? Apart from introducing the Erasmus program, Mr. Sutherland points to his time at the head of GATT (which became the WTO under his tenure) and to the conclusion of the Uruguay Round of talks. Someone was needed to “rallyrag” and “push it over the line”, and he was not afraid to threaten his resignation; “perhaps I bullied people a bit and pushed and shoved, and got there in the end.” For him, it was all worth it: “it was the greatest single advance of multi-lateralism since the inspired period of institution building that took place in the late 40s.” Amid all of this international work, he was travelling “60-70% of the time” but he was determined to ensure that he did not become a “career minister for servants in Geneva.” After the creation of the WTO, he became chairman of BP and Goldman Sachs – huge challenges for any person, and more so for a man who, despite obvious talents, had never properly run a company. He looks back at his time on these boards: “it was really huge to do both of these, and I am still
FAITH AND CREDIT: THE WORLD BANK’S SECULAR EMPIRE SUSAN GEORGE AND FABRIZIO SABELLI
Sutherland has one of the most illustrious careers in business in Irish history. in many ways amazed that they asked me to do it.” With Goldman Sachs, he was working 7 days a week, learning his trade, and it was a huge challenge. While BP, during the beginning of his tenure, was embarking on a whole host of acquisitions. Before we finish up, I can’t help but ask him about the current crisis. And I am struck by the originality of his perspective. He bemoans Ireland’s lack of progress in the last 30 years in many areas such as transport, communication, education and energy, “we have not been great successes; we haven’t produced the goods,” and argues that we have lacked informed leadership in the public service and the political system. At the same time he contends that we have too much of an obsession with consensus building, saying that sometimes “you have to take on sacred cows”. However he is not all downbeat, and argues that we can get out of the mess we find ourselves in if we display the character and ability to confront difficult decisions which he believes we have. About education, he is equally as honest. “It is totally ridiculous that we should resist fees. We have two choices. Either we dumb down our education system by not giving enough money, or
we do what virtually everybody else is now doing, which is some form of loan and deferred payment.” He believes that our third level education sector is suffering at the moment, but fears that it will suffer even more if the right choices are not made quickly. He states it clearly: if there is a choice between sub-standard education and fees, then we must go for fees. Is there a lack of political will? “Yes! It’s obvious. A very bad decision has been taken not to introduce fees”. In addition, he passionately argues that the Department of Education should reward excellence in universities, rather than giving them money “for the number of bums on seats”. I ring off, distinctly impressed by this man’s ability to achieve so much in such a short space of time. I can’t help but wonder what his impact would have been on a more local level had he won that Dublin North-West seat back in 1973. His originality, his accomplishments, and ability to tell it like it is are an inspiration for his contemporaries and those who will follow behind. Ultimately though, looking at the career trajectory of people like Peter Sutherland, I am reminded that sometimes doing what you’re passionate about can be the route to success.
The Economics of the Spar €2 Hot Chicken Fillet Roll Jonathan Wyse Staff Writer THE RECESSION has brought down prices throughout the economy, in response to faltering demand. In Dublin, the most obvious example of this is Spar’s much celebrated €2 hot chicken-fillet roll. But in the same shop, many prices haven’t fallen as much. Why is this? Like the canary in the coal mine, the €2 hot chicken-fillet roll acts as an indicator in case of recovering consumer spending. The phenomenon has been pretty common in Dublin over the last few months. Basically, shops advertise particular set sandwiches (say, a BLT roll) at an unusually low price. The principle always remains the same regardless of the sandwich’s contents. There are some very obvious reasons for such deals to be advertised. They can certainly act to lure consumers into the shop for their lunch – only to see them spend more than they expected on over-priced merchandise elsewhere. This might be a reason for some prices (e.g. chicken-fillet rolls) to fall quicker than others (e.g. cans of soft drink). Consumers use the prices trumpeted outside the store as an indicator of the value for money they expect inside generally. Why aren’t such deals as prevalent outside of the recession? Probably because firms aren’t as starved of custom. In an economy where fewer people are having their lunch out, competition is more fierce for those who
are. Also, shops might be finding that lunch has become a more substantial fraction of their dwindling revenue. There is also the asymmetry of reduced spending in the economy. In the same way that Tesco offer cheaper, lower-quality food stuffs for consumers on a budget, it pays for shops to have a two-tier price system in these recessionary times. If you’re still flush with cash, have a fancy sandwich at a high price. I f you’ve fallen on h a r d times, we’ll offer you a substantially more limited range at bargain prices. Such “price discrimination” explains why airlines offer business class seats at huge premiums – they are trying to charge each customer the most he is individually willing to pay for the service. More interestingly, the rate of uptake on these deals might be used as a proxy for the broader recovery of consumer spending. Why? If your income is back to its original level and your job is secure, you are more likely to begin splashing out on frivolous flamboyant sandwiches. At the very least, you are less likely to buy a €2 hot chicken-fillet roll every day of the week. But the management of Spar will have a hard time knowing how to set their prices in a recession. How much of
a price reduction is too much? If they try t o
keep all prices in the store aligned with whatever vague notion they have of the degree of economic recovery, it will be expensive and time-consuming to change prices everywhere. They might also suffer if their prices are not perfectly accurate. So instead of changing all their prices, they change a few key items which have superior substitutes at higher prices elsewhere in the store. Then they don’t have to worry about when to raise their prices. As consumers start shifting towards more expensive options, the prices will “naturally” align. Customers will consume some combination of cheap and expensive sandwiches, according to their financial situation – the aggregate will be the price they are charged. But there’s more information to be gleaned. Substitution away from €2 hot chicken fillet rolls and towards the range of more expensive sandwiches may communicate a recovery of consumer spending in this specific area. It doesn’t have to be a mass exodus. There would just have to be a noticeable decrease. Crucially, if all your prices were low,
you’d never notice this increased willingness of consumers to spend – because all you know is that consumers are all willing to buy sandwiches at the current price you’ve chosen (which is the same for all your lunch options). Once that substitution happens, Spar can then phase out their crazy deals and begin charging less extreme rates for all their lunch options. They want to do this as the earliest possible moment, because increased consumer choice yields higher profits in the long-run. If they do it too early though, consumers won’t be ready and will shop elsewhere. What is the price of this knowledge to Spar? Well, they’re forcing a lot of people to eat €2 hot chicken-fillet rolls, when they could lower prices elsewhere in the store while maintaining profit. Since this makes consumers less happy than otherwise possible, that affects the store’s bottom line in the short run. But it might be worth it, because firms will have a strong indicator of when they can adapt their pricing strategy to the reality of the recovering economic situation. Their prices will “naturally” align, as the proportion of consumers willing to pay more gradually shifts away from the €2 hot chicken-fillet roll. Is it fool-proof? Nope. But if sales are increasing at the smoothie bar too, the evidence for economic recovery will begin to mount. Jonathan Wyse Sch. blogs under the pseudonym ‘The Free Marketeer’.
FORTNIGHT IN FIGURES
10% level the Chinese government expects annual economic growth to reach this quarter.
80,000 the number of households in arrears in paying either mortgage or rent in Ireland, according to the CSO.
€2.1BN the amount drawn down by small and medium sized businesses in the first nine months of the year according to Bank of Ireland Chairman Pat Molloy.
€3BN the estimated surplus exports in September indicating that they will be the main driver of the Irish economic recovery when it comes. Imports have fallen to their lowest level since March 1999.
THE INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank) are two institutions which have always drawn heat over their activities in developing nations. In the wake of the destruction wrought by the Second World War, it was felt that international institutions were needed in order to prevent the kind of economic chaos which had attacked the Weimer Republic in the twenties, and ultimately contributed to the rise of Hitler in Germany. In the end, both institutions’ remits expanded and soon they were taking an interest in developing nations around the world – often with disastrous consequences. The IMF has been the subject of criticism over the past few decades, much of it from mainstream intellectuals such as the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz who offered a damning critique of the Fund in his book Globalisation and its Discontents. The demonisation of the IMF has often over-shadowed the failures of the World Bank, even though it arguably suffered – and continues to suffer from – the same type of problems which plague the Fund. A comprehensive overview of the Bank’s activities from it’s inception up until the mid-nineties is offered by Susan George and Fabrizio Sabelli. In this classic text the authors argue that the World Bank suffers from a distinct lack of transparency and accountability and that many of the decisions made by it in the past have been influenced by free-market doctrine rather than economic reality. George and Sabelli compare the institution to a monolithic political party or a religious institution which imposes its belief system with force, while rejecting any form of dissent. The authors do not confine themselves solely to the study of the Bank’s activities in various developing nations, though they do analyse various Bank-sponsored projects with the aid of original documents and the criticisms of various experts; rather they seek to outline its “values, its culture, its belief system and its reigning myths” as well. Few opponents have sought to understand the ‘why’ behind the institution’s policies, so it is the authors’ attempt to understand the Bank not just as a monolithic entity but as an organisation made up of people pushing their own political agenda which makes George and Sabelli’s analysis so valuable. Faith and Credit is essentially the history of an institution which enjoyed great political power and exercised this power virtually unchecked for the better part of six decades. It is also a catalogue of failures that the “cornerstone of the house of development” has been responsible for in the developing nations which it exists ostensibly to aid. These failures are numerous and on a grand scale; the proposed Sardar Sarovar dam project in India being one memorable example of the Bank’s bull-headedness and refusal to accept that its policy would in fact harm the people it was supposed to help. Ultimately, though, Faith and Credit argues that economic theory and its application is not value neutral, and that though the World Bank claims it is a purely economic institution, its responsibility for the dissemination of billions of dollars also confers political power. Although the authors give us an overview of the activities of only one global institution over half a century, their analysis provides a framework which can be applied everywhere. Faith and Credit offers a chilling reminder that when it comes to bureaucratic institutions, the narrative which prevails will often be a function of power not truth. Review by Lisa Keenan
TRINITY NEWS November 17, 2009
The Irish New Wave Sean Blackburn Contributing Writer LIKE MANY travellers, I have managed to scour the globe before touring my own backyard. I have never seen the majority of this beautiful country, despite living here for nearly three years. My lack of local travel can be traced back to my apparent lack of reason to go anywhere but Dublin, beyond the odd visit to a friend’s home county. I never bothered to think about what other places in Ireland had to offer. This all changed when my friends finally convinced me to visit the west coast, attach a board to my leg and jump in the Atlantic Ocean. Surfing had never been my favourite sport; I had only really done it a few times in America and, in my recent summer on the Sunshine Coast, I never believed my friends’ claims of the all-year-round Irish surf scene. My love of snowboarding, diving and bodyboarding gave me
a little bit of help getting into the water. Any board-riding experience is good to help you get started! However, as soon as I took the plunge I realised how hugely I had underestimated this country, and how amazing it can really be! People are always writing about hidden beaches and perfect surf on a remote island where nobody lives. It is a romanticised surfing ideal, the ultimate goal in surf travel and exploration. But I think, as strange as it might sound, I had discovered that ideal, surfing a well-known beach, with a town in clear sight, not remote, not ideal surf for the day, but perfect for us. I think that’s the point, something I had never grasped when I’ve been on packed beaches on the Jersey Shore or the beautiful warm beaches of Australia – it’s not where you are, but why you’re there. I know that many people would say, “Wouldn’t you prefer to be on a beach in Bali two minutes walk from crystal-clear water, palm trees and beautifully tanned bikini-clad bodies everywhere?” and I would answer rather bluntly, “Yes, that’s my summer plan!” What I love about the surf in Ireland that makes it so special is that you can’t go by half; most of us need to drive at least two hours to get to a consistently decent spot, get dressed into our superhero-like costumes, complete with gloves, hoods and booties, all the while bracing ourselves against wind and rain, to get into freezing cold water. It makes the experience all the more rewarding and I think that Ireland has made surfing something special for me! I am not saying that Ireland is set to become a
surfing Mecca, that it should be, or that I am in a good position to make such a call, but my first experience of surfing in Ireland stands out in my memory against all the other spots I’ve been to and for me it has made surfing a significant part of my life. It is my little something to look forward to, to get out of Dublin, be somewhere different and do something that I, despite my incompetence, really enjoy. The unique way in which Ireland has embraced surfing has definitely made an impact on me. This impact has stretched me into helping my friend with his second job, fixing and building boards in his shed. I am constantly planning trips to other spots, summer holidays and checking the swells (which have been disappointing recently, to say the least!). But Ireland’s influence on my perspective of surfing is extensive. I realise now that it is not restricted to beautiful reefs in the most exotic places of the world, but that it is possible to have as much – if not more – of a fulfilling surfing experience in Ireland. Not to seem too over-dramatic, but it has made me appreciate Ireland more than I have ever before, despite numerous trips visiting my family, or, for the past few years, going to college. I have never known what is possible in this country and how great it can be. So I suppose I wrote this article not only to have some outlet for my new obsession, but also to tell the doubters to branch out and discover Ireland. It’s really worth it, and refreshing to discover something or somewhere new that you might not have expected.
Earning your surfing stripes
Test your skills with the Strandhill rocks
A relaxed destination, Enniscrone is perfect for those looking to practise without risking ending up on the rocks at more difficult spots
Sean Blackburn Contributing Writer “WE MUST be some of the only stupid people jumping in the ocean today!” This seemed like the right thing to say at the time, but this would turn out to be a great day that would change my perspective of Irish surfing, and Ireland altogether! The day hadn’t exactly started smoothly. I had slept for an hour and a half, between two lads of about 6’3”, in a broken tent, with Jim snoring like a freight train. Adding to that, I didn’t have a wetsuit, which is sometimes an issue when you expect to be in 14-degree water for a few hours! I was stuck with Emma’s suit - yes, Emma, a girl, no need to tell you how unpleasant that was for me, a lad! Counting all these factors together - tiredness, lack of sleep and a less than flattering, tight outfit - I was not expecting a great day. These thoughts quickly dissipated as soon as I paddled into that first good wave, stood up and felt the speed, a rush of air and spray off the top of the wave. I knew now this was a day I would remember! Enniscrone is perfect for beginners and intermediates, people not looking for large challenges in catching or riding waves, as the likelihood of crashing up on rocks or monster waves are unlikely. The long, smooth beach stretches along for miles to give you
plenty of space in the water and allow somewhere for your audience, the dog walkers, to watch you wipeout. The lack of people in the winter (I have been told it’s very popular in the summer) means that the surf is a lot easier, especially for people without much experience. Not many people are there to drop in on you or cut you up, leaving you free to pick and choose your waves, relax and enjoy. Despite fond memories of this trip, in retrospect, I must admit the surf was not great at that time. Lots of white water with messy waves that just wouldn’t break evenly - it wasn’t what you would call ideal surf. It was a combination of the cold, because I didn’t expect to be doing anything like this in Ireland, and yet, because there was no one else there, it became our little sanctuary, a little surfing paradise of our own. You can do what you want when you’re out of the city, in the water, with a few friends and no obligations - nothing else matters but the time you’re having. I think that our stupid antics at Enniscrone - tandem surfing on Jim’s enormous Bic and failing every party wave we tried - helped me realise that. Our second visit to Enniscrone brought even breaking waves, left to right, and enough space for us to do whatever we
wanted. The great thing was, with white water at the front and overheads out the back, the more experienced surfers on the beach don’t have any problems with beginners (and vice versa). If you’re like me - a bit of an improver - you can test yourself, and discover your boundaries, which I certainly did. I paddled into bigger than normal waves, which often landed me on the front of my board, catapulting me through the wave, only to be washing-machined by the next two following waves! Make sure to look out for the surf reports, but I’d suggest Enniscrone for most people looking for a good time, even if the surf has been rubbish f o r the past few weeks. I t doesn’t matter there - you’ll still have fun, and hopefully won’t hurt yourselves.
Sean Blackburn Contributing Writer SINCE MY first successful surf in the west coast, I’ve suddenly become keen to explore a bit of Ireland, go on some road trips and, most of all, surf at any opportunity I can get. Our second trip was organised within a week of the first, but some concessions had to be made: firstly, we had to get rid of the tent; secondly, I needed a wetsuit that wasn’t going to choke me; thirdly, and most importantly, we needed some decent surf to really test the scene in Ireland for beginner surfers and people who can’t quite handle the Cliffs of Moher, at least not just yet. So we did our homework, which is not hard thanks to magicseaweed.com. Having quickly learnt that you need offshore winds and high pressure, among many other things, to get decent waves, I was off again, ready to learn and improve. I rationalised that being able to surf well would only make my rapidly emerging obsession more reasonable, sensible and understandable for people who know me! T h e safest choice was
Strandhill, having a friend knowing the way over as well as the spot. With a nice hostel across from a great pub with live music, we knew this trip would be a success. This was confirmed by looking out across the water on the Friday night, as beautiful rolling waves came in sets, waiting for us to appear in the morning. Unfortunately, as can always be the case, it wasn’t as good the next morning. But we were able to trundle down the road to Enniscrone, which is one of the major bonuses about Strandhill: you can jump in your car and find another spot in less than an hour! The next day, I am pleased to say, we did surf at Strandhill, and the twominute walk down the beach was much better than an hour driving! In the most crowded day I’ve seen in Ireland, we were unfortunate enough to get into the only spot where the waves weren’t breaking. The epic paddle began, and, lets face it, with student living bringing my fitness down to below average, a l o n g enough paddle does take its toll! A little tip for you - paddle out in front of the cannon next time you’re there, not fifty metres d o w n
current, where you’re going to have to paddle back over, or worse, get out onto the rocks and walk. The late breaking waves lapping your feet always threaten to send you tumbling at any time. Strandhill turned out to be a challenge, not just because of the paddle, but it was, on that day, a day to pick and choose waves. You couldn’t go out there looking for an enormous wave count, mess around a bit and walk back out. The deep water forces you to paddle, and the lack of wind stops tonnes of waves breaking. The ones that you do catch you have to be careful you don’t end up on the rocks, which you can see clear as day, rippling under your board! So it’s a bit more of an experienced-surfer place, which you do have to be careful at, because there’s nothing that can ruin a surf trip more than an injury! Either way, I had a great time at Strandhill. Not only could I sleep indoors, but there was a great pub to retreat to, to talk about that great wave, the wipeouts and the close calls. The pub also made me realise that Ireland is a great country for sports like surfing to flourish. Even though there were the usual guys propping up the bar, and live music letting all the locals act like they’re in a club, it is impossible to feel out of place, or unwelcome. The barmen remember you, your order, and chat away, something that is pretty rare in Dublin pubs. This chilled-out attitude of the locals lets surfing work its way easily into society on the west coast. It is evident in the places I’ve visited that surfing is booming in Ireland, with more people, businesses and spots popping up all the time. With more people like me becoming interested in surfing everyday, I can only foresee that it’s going to get much bigger and better in t h e future.
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
Soundtrack to the sporting year Looking back on the sporting year that was, Kate Rowan imagines the soundtrack to her very own highlights reel
Kate Rowan Staff Writer AFTER WATCHING a match I enjoy guessing what song will accompany the montage of highlights as the credits roll. While thinking about the monumental moments, talking points and oddities of the 2009 sporting year, I couldn’t help but link the events to some of this year’s biggest hits.
IRELAND DINING AT RUGBY’S TOP TABLE
GREATEST DAY TAKE THAT
WHEN IRELAND beat current World and Tri-Nations champions South Africa in a misty Croke Park last weekend, RTE’s rugby commentator and one time “Ross O’Carroll-Kelly” guest star Ryle Nugent’s cry of “It’s Ireland’s day, it’s Ireland’s season!” upon the final whistle was a perfect summation of the match and of the past 12 months for Irish rugby. Once inside the studio, veteran presenter Tom McGurk and the irrepressible George Hook got a bit more flowery with their language, booming out the likes of: “The fires of Irish rugby are burning brighter than ever before in history, these are extraordinary times!” Love or loathe Hook and his tendency for hyperbole, he and McGurk are just echoing what all Irish rugby fans must be thinking. Ireland’s unbeaten streak during 2009 has been, in the words of captain Brian O’Driscoll, “pretty sweet”. The victory over South Africa would have been sweet revenge for the Irish players who gallantly lost out in the test series against the Springboks as part of the British and Irish Lions tour this summer. At the start of the Six Nations campaign there was much talk that this was the last chance saloon for the socalled “Golden Generation” of players such as O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara and Paul O’Connell. However, winning the Grand Slam showed that there is a contingent of brilliant young talent such as Rob Kearney, Luke Fitzgerald, Keith Earls and Tommy Bowe, as well as Cian Healy and Jonathan Sexton that impressively cut their teeth in the successful Autumn Internationals Series. This group of players should shine for Ireland well into the coming decade. This winning formula of battlehardened experience and prodigious youth has to be credited very much to Ireland’s coach Declan Kidney. The former Munster coach was as modest and understated as ever when he won the IRB Coach of the Year award,
immediately stating that “my role is overstated, it was all down to the players. I didn’t make a single tackle!” Provincial sides Leinster and Munster added to the feel-good factor, winning the Heineken Cup and Magners League respectively — further cementing the fact that Irish rugby is at the top of the pile in the northern hemisphere. The Munster-Leinster Heineken Cup semi-final in Croke Park gripped the nation with a game that had a record attendance for a club match. It also gave us the term “Lunster”; a person from Leinster who supports Munster! In breaking both Munster and “Lunster” hearts back in April and again in the Magners League in October, Leinster have tipped the balance of power between the provinces, which has increased interest in the rivalry. It really seems Irish rugby is having its “Greatest Day” but here’s hoping that the success will extend into 2010 and beyond!
FIGHT FOR THIS LOVE CHERYL COLE A MATTER of hours after the Irish rugby team created history in Cardiff, Dubliner Bernard Dunne became the WBA Super-Bantamweight World Champion at the O2 Arena in Dublin as he defeated Panamanian Ricardo Cordoba with an 11th round knock-out. In the bout which was seen as one of the greatest ever to be fought on Irish soil, the Neilstown native knocked the champion down four times before the referee eventually called a halt to the contest in the penultimate round. Unfortunately the 29-year-old lost his title on his first defense against the Thai Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym in September in the 02 by way of the WBA “three knockdown” rule in the third round of the fight. On the same night Dunne claimed
I could almost see Keane bursting into song, warbling his own version of “It’s Not Fair” directed at John Delaney rather than an incompetent lover! his world title, Bray boxer Katie Taylor had an emphatic 27-3 win over threetime Pan American champion Caroline Barry in the undercard fight. In July Taylor had one of her biggest successes to date, winning gold at the Russian Multi-Nations event at the Sports Palace in St Petersburg, chalking up her 39th consecutive victory — and her 60th win in her last 61 bouts. To top off an already glittering year, the
Wicklow woman won her fourth successive European Championship title in September 2009 in the Ukraine without conceding a single point. In addition to her boxing prowess, the 23-year-old is a gifted soccer player, playing for the Ireland senior women’s team. Remarkably, Taylor made a substitute appearance for Ireland against Kazakhstan just days after returning from the Ukraine. Now that it has been declared that women’s boxing will be an official sport for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Irish eyes will be on Taylor over the next couple of years in the hope she can continue her amazing form and bring home gold. When talking of this great success in Irish boxing we must not forget Olympic bronze medalist Darren Sutherland who died tragically in September. With a promising professional career ahead of him we are left wondering what might have been. Pádraig Harrington may have failed to retain his two Major titles from 2008 this year but we were treated to an exciting climax to the 3 Irish Open when 22-year-old amateur Shane Lowry defeated Englishman Robert Rock on the third hole of a sudden death playoff. The Offaly man was only the third amateur to win on the European Tour. He decided to turn professional the week after his Irish Open triumph but failed to make the cut in his first three tournaments as a professional. He had his best professional result last month, finishing third in the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Japan. There is no doubting Irish spirits were crushed in the Stade de France a few weeks ago but rather than obsessing over “The Hand of Frog” and launching into a diatribe on the merits of goal-line technology, I would like to commend the Boys in Green for their gutsy performances and in winning over Irish hearts and minds. Over the last number of games in their ill-fated qualifying campaign we as a country really started to have faith in the team again. During the Kerr and Staunton eras, Irish teams were criticised for not playing with enough passion but recently we have seen the players adopt much more of a “never say die” attitude that has endeared them to the public. Seeing Damien Duff’s tears, Richard Dunne’s dignity in sitting on the pitch silently beside Thierry Henry and strong performances from relative newcomers to Trap’s army such as Liam Lawrence and Seán St. Ledger made us fall in love with our soccer team again. The Republic of Ireland may have lost out on their right to a South African World Cup odyssey but they won the fight for the love of the Irish fans!
IT’S NOT FAIR LILY ALLEN IN JANUARY as the Chinese Zodiac was changing from the Year of the Rat to the Year of the Ox, in the sporting world we were entering “the Year of the Rant”! 2009 saw a number of notable rants, particularly from those holding managerial positions, and it was Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez who got the ball rolling during a press conference at the start of the year. The Spaniard, irked by Sir Alex Ferguson’s observations about the fixture list, infamously began by stating all he was saying was a “fact” and erupted into accusing the
Scotsman and Manchester United of benefiting from a kinder fixture calendar and of intimidating match officials. Benítez got particularly creative when he suggested that: “The option is Mr Ferguson organises the fixtures in his office and sends it to us and everyone will know and cannot complain. That is simple.” Not to be outshone in the ranting league, Ferguson got himself into hot water in October when he got out his hairdryer and accused referee Alan Wiley of being “unfit” after United’s 2-2
“If you are saving a shot, that has to be worth taking off your shirt and trousers.... I don’t think I scared too many spectators off the course, hopefully” draw with Sunderland. Ferguson fumed: “The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. He was not fit. You see referees abroad who are as fit as butchers’ dogs. He was taking 30 seconds to book a player. He was needing a rest. It was ridiculous.” The fiery Scot later apologised for causing Wiley “personal embarrassment” but his efforts were rewarded with an FA charge of improper conduct. It wasn’t just soccer managers who were suffering from verbal diarrhoea. In the summer during the Lions Tour to South Africa, the Springboks coach Peter de Villiers, in the wake of Schalk Burger’s eye gouge on Luke Fitzgerald, came out with these pearls of wisdom: “If we are going on like this, why don’t we go to the nearest ballet shop, get some tutus and get some dancing going? There will be no eye gouging, no tackling, no nothing and we will enjoy it.” Roy Keane also deserves an honourable mention for his efforts at digging up the past and launching an attack on the FAI when asked his opinion on certain events in Paris. I could almost see him bursting into song, warbling his own version of “It’s Not Fair” directed at John Delaney rather than an incompetent lover!
SCANDAL AND CONTROVERSY
BAD THINGS JACE EVERETT
THIS YEAR the world of sport kept on trend with popular culture’s current obsession for all things gothic. Last summer I was enthralled by gory US television import “True Blood”, the story of a telepathic Louisiana waitress, a 150-year-old vampire and copious amounts of synthetic blood. There was synthetic blood aplenty being splattered about Harlequins’ Twickenham Stoop ground when they entertained Leinster in April. As it transpired, winger Tom Williams had been persuaded to by then director of rugby Dean Richards and other coaching staff to fake a blood injury by using a capsule of false blood he had concealed in his sock! Unfortunately for Williams he made the mistake of winking at the bench as he melodramatically staggered off the pitch looking as though he had just sunk his fangs into a tasty victim! The controversy that ensued became known as “Bloodgate” and kept many a hack busy during summer’s silly season. Richards and physio Steph Brennan
r e c e i v e d lengthy bans for their duplicitous deeds in order to stop more “Bad Things” from tainting rugby’s reputation. Meanwhile, Williams’ twelve month ban was cut back to just four in consideration of his part in assisting the investigation. He made his return for Harlequins only to receive a blood injury. The writers of “True Blood” couldn’t come up with this sort of dramatic irony!
MOMENTS OF ECCENTRICITY
BONKERS DIZZEE RASCAL
GOLF HAS a reputation for being a sport populated by gentlemen who behave properly and dress accordingly! So it was much to everybody’s surprise when during the World Golf CA Championship at the Doral Golf Resort near Miami, Swede Henrick Stenson stripped down into rather clingy white undies that didn’t leave much to the imagination to take a shot out of a muddy water hazard. The Scandinavian later explained his actions, saying: “If you are saving a shot, that has to be worth taking off your shirt and trousers, I’m sure I’ll hear a few comments and once the pictures get out, I’ll hear a few more, no doubt. I’ll probably take that to my grave with me. I don’t think I scared too many spectators off the course, hopefully.” He then added that he did it “for the love of the game, and for the fans”. Lucky them! If that wasn’t “Bonkers” enough, Hull City’s perma-tanned manager Phil Brown grabbed a microphone and treated fans to an off-key and off-thecuff on the pitch rendition of the Beach Boys’ classic “Sloop John B.” after the Tigers managed to maintain their Premier League status in May.
RISING STARS HOPES FOR THE FUTURE
I GOTTA FEELING BLACK EYED PEAS
SO, AS 2009 draws to a close we have much to look forward to for the year ahead. This year saw Northern Irish golfing starlet Rory McIlroy finish an impressive second in the European Tour Order of Merit as well as just missing out on the golf World Cup title with Graeme McDowell. Comparisons have already been drawn with Tiger Woods, with Mark O’Meara even going so far as to say that the Hollywood young man is better than the world number one was at his age. After playing alongside McIlroy earlier this year the two-time Major winner asserted that, “ball-striking-wise at 19, he’s probably better than what Tiger was at 19. His technique I think is better. Certainly Tiger has developed his game and swing over the years and made modifications to be able to hit the ball pin-high, but Rory is already doing that and he’s 19, so he’s already a step ahead”. Last weekend we saw Jonathan Sexton emerge as the heir apparent to Ronan O’Gara’s fly-half spot in the Irish rugby setup, kicking all 15 points against the Springboks. The 24-year-old Leinster player has been experiencing heady times in 2009, coming on against Munster in the Heineken Cup semifinal for the injured Felipe Contepomi and then kicking the winning penalty against Leicester in the final. “I Gotta Feeling” that 2010 is going to be a really good year for these two fearless young sportsmen.
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
IRELAND V FRANCE: HEAD-TO-HEAD
The Luck of the Irish?
The hand of shame
Edward Tinsley believes that without a replay, there’s no redemption for Henry or FIFA
Baptiste Garaialde argues that the French people genuinely are as ashamed as the Irish claim they should be
Baptiste Garaialde Contributing Writer
HAME ON Henry, shame on France, shame on FIFA” was what you could read/see/hear all over the media after the infamous “Hand of Frog”. The impact was so great that it almost turned into a diplomatic row between France and Ireland after Mr François Fillon (the French Prime Minister) asked his Irish counterpart to stay away from the rematch polemic. If we look at the game, we can understand the reasons for such an outburst from critics. Over the two games, a country that didn’t qualify for the previous World Cup managed to dominate a finalist of that World Cup. A team of world-class players failed to perform and were put in peril by a squad that had as a main threat, they believed, its fighting spirit. France only qualified thanks to a sneaky double handball by its captain. Whilst we can assume how the Irish people reacted, it is less easy to predict French reactions. “The Hand of God” said L’Équipe, “Miraculous” for Le Parisien, “Hands up” for Libération – French dailies quickly outlined (with irony) the nature of the French victory. For the press, the qualification was a relief, but the manner in which it was gained was a source of great concern. A sentiment of shame and guilt was clear. World champion Bixente Lizarazu gives a good view on the situation in L’Équipe: “Today we are relieved but we are not happy. We cannot be happy, there is no glory in our qualification and we cannot celebrate by respect to the Irish.” The reaction of the French population was similar; polls have shown that 64% of the French were not proud of the French team and of the way they qualified. Furthermore, the qualification also managed to widen the gap between the French population and its national team: 47% disapproved of Thierry Henry’s celebration of the goal and 81% disapprove of Raymond Domenech as a coach. Moreover, it may appear surprising to see that a big part of the French population agreed with the Irish idea of a rematch (44%
McMorrow, above, acts as one of the current Nike Women ambassadors.
Nike training club to launch
opportunity to recruit this year’s new “Nike Selects”. 2010 will be the second year of this programme in which Nike searches UK and Ireland universities to find young women who are passionate about sport to become ambassadors on campus and promote sport for women in their community. Claire McGlynn and I were chosen to undertake this role in Trinity. Following the final in December in London, we were brought to London to learn what Nike Women is about. We were encouraged to support women to train to be stronger in body and mind, to act as role models and to encourage greater participation in sport amongst university females. We gave feedback on clothing lines for collections for Spring 2010. We were also involved in campaigns such as the Here I Am, Changemakers, Nike Plus Men versus Women challenge and are now currently involved in the new Nike Training Club campaign. It’s not been all hard work though: there are frequent trips to London to give feedback, learn about the campaigns and get to know all the other Nike Selects. The free gear definitely helps keep us motivated! If you believe you have the energy to motivate other young women to play sport, head to Nikewomen.com and register for the chance to be a part of the team.
Mairead McMorrow Contributing Writer FRIDAY 4TH December 2009 sees Trinity play host to the launch of Nike Training Club, a new dynamic training, interval-style workout designed to prevent training plateaus for all sports for both men and women. Its intense bootcamp-style incorporates the five fundamentals central to every sport: Strength, Cardio, Core, Balance and Flexibility. This workout can be adapted to suit both outdoor and indoor settings and with specific teamworkinspired exercises and multi-directional movements intended for both the firsttimer and the elite athlete. It will be held in the Ancillary Hall on the first floor of the Sports Centre and two sessions will be held from 6.00 to 6.45pm and 6.45 to 7.30pm. The sessions will be directed by Sonja Moses, a Nike Master Trainer who will be flying over from London for the event, which will be open to all Trinity students, male and female, both full-time athletes and those wishing to try something new. There will also be free gear handed out and an appearance by a guest Nike athlete. The sessions are free, and you can sign up on the “Nike Training Club comes to Trinity” Facebook page or simply show up to the session which suits you. Nike will also be taking this
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.
LEINSTER DIVISION 2
Pl 5 5 5 5 4 4
W 5 3 3 2 1 0
Dublin University Avoca v
Domenech won a cheque of more than €800,000 and he is going to be able to do something he loves: annoy the press and the fans alike. If we look at the reactions towards Thierry Henry we see that he was heavily criticized and received little support coming from the football world. The result is that a country that did not deserve to go through will go to South Africa next summer with minimum support (do not expect to see a lot of blue in South Africa), great concerns over the coach’s capabilities and the players’ motivations and, worst of all, there will be no real ambitions/hope or pride for the team because of the way the ticket was won. Strangely enough this situation seems to benefit one man: Raymond Domenech. He is only the second national coach to secure three straight participations in an international competition, he will soon become the coach with the highest number of games in charge of the French team, he won a cheque of more than €800,000 and he is going to be able to do something he loves: annoy the press and the fans alike.
D 0 0 0 0 0 0
L 0 2 2 3 3 4
GF 11 12 9 6 5 5
GA 5 6 8 7 9 13
GD 6 6 1 -1 -4 -8
Pts 15 9 9 6 3 0
v Suttonians Dublin University
Team Lansdowne Thomond DLSP Bruff Belfast Harlequins UCD Old Wesley Bective Rangers Corinthians Terenure College Dublin University Malone Old Crescent Highfield Clonakilty Greystones
SAT MAJOR 1C P 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
W 5 3 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 1
D 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
L 0 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 4 4 4 3 4 4
F 179 123 125 103 94 124 97 105 90 90 87 60 83 83 44 53
A 49 78 82 95 74 78 102 105 112 94 101 92 120 133 102 123
TB 4 2 1 1 1 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
LB 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 2 3 2 2 0 2 1
Pts 24 17 17 17 15 14 14 13 13 10 7 6 6 6 6 5
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. * Bray
Pl 5 4 5 6 6 6 5 5 8 6
W 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
WOMEN’S RUGBY D 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0
L 0 0 1 3 3 3 2 3 6 5
GF 14 15 8 12 4 9 5 7 6 7
GA 3 1 4 11 7 16 5 11 9 20
GD 11 14 4 1 -3 -7 0 -4 -3 -13
26/09 - Registration infringement (1 points deducted)
Trinity College v Pembroke Wanderers
Glenanne v Trinity College
Pts 15 12 10 9 9 9 7 4 3 3
ALL IRELAND DIVISION 2N
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Team City of Derry Cill Dara RFC Old Belvedere Belfast Harlequins Portlaoise RFC Dublin University Malahide RFC Cavan Carrickfergus
P 5 5 5 5 3 4 4 4 5
W 4 4 4 2 2 1 1 0 0
D 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 1
L 1 1 1 2 1 3 3 2 4
F 124 63 84 19 110 10 20 8 5
A 31 27 45 25 21 53 56 53 132
TB 3 2 1 0 2 0 0 0 0
LB 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0
Team St. Patrick’s CYFC Postal United Dublin University FC Sacred Heart Alpine Express Portmarnock FC Larkview Boys Ballyfermot United Templeogue United Newbridge Town Swords Celtic St. James’s Athletic Fairview CYM
P 12 11 8 10 11 6 9 7 9 7 10 7 5
W 8 6 5 5 4 3 2 3 1 2 2 1 0
D 2 2 3 2 3 2 3 0 5 2 2 2 0
L 2 3 0 3 4 1 4 4 3 3 6 4 5
F 32 31 20 18 21 17 15 7 21 16 14 13 4
A 15 20 8 17 25 10 16 9 21 19 8 22 27
Date 6/10/09 13/10/09 20/10/09 27/10/09 03/11/09
Team Loreto Railway Union Hermes UCD Trinity College Corinthians Old Alexandra Pembroke Wanderers Bray Glenanne
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.
FLOODLIGHT C1 SA
Games on Sunday 29th were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.
LEINSTER DIVISION 1
he had considered retiring ahead of next year’s World Cup. This was one decision that he did make in a split second. Our next perpetrator is FIFA, and they too must be held accountable for their role in this misallocation of justice. Not only did they openly admit their disregard for fair play by fixing the play-off draw through a seeding system, FIFA have for years managed to remain blind to the overwhelming argument for video replays. Despite bowing to the commercial benefits of having hundreds of cameras broadcasting their games to billions of viewers, must we really rely on the angles of vision of two men to make a decision? This is a decision that broadly affects entire nations as well as the careers of those involved, so why is the referee the only one not able to benefit from this technology? Another glaring example of FIFA’s lack of equitable treatment can be seen in FIFA’s decision to replay the World Cup Qualifier between Bahrain and Uzbekistan in 2005. In this instance the referee incorrectly gave an indirect free kick after an attacking player had infringed the area during a penalty kick (as opposed to the correct decision of a retaken penalty). In Ireland’s case the FAI’s valid argument was that the referee’s gross miscalculation had not only seemingly endorsed foul play, it had brought a similar lack of integrity upon the result similar to that of the Uzbekistan game. But alas, FIFA is hardly one to submit to conventional reason or popular demand. In fact, what most encapsulates FIFA’s political idiosyncrasies is their official match report on the game in Paris, which fails to mention anything of a handball or controversy. So having blamed everyone else but ourselves, what can we say about the reaction here at home? Roy Keane’s interview was a joy to watch, sidestepping all the conventional responses to explain why Ireland had lost; he launched a scathing attack on the FAI, before grilling a helpless journalist on his persistent ringtone. However, even as the red mist descended, he mustered up one nugget of reason: “I think the Irish supporters probably deserve better, I think the manager and most of the players deserve better.” This is the overwhelming sentiment that has been echoed worldwide, so all hope now rests on a 500,000-strong Facebook petition to turn next month’s FIFA emergency meeting into a further discussion on replaying the game.
AIL DIVISION 2
Team Suttonians Avoca Weston Dublin University Navan Bray
in favour of a rematch, according to Le Monde) a claim that echoed in the political sphere when Mme Lagarde (Economic Minister) and the President of the French Parliament agreed with the idea of a rematch. Politicians’ reactions were once again quite aggressive towards the French team; right-wing leader Philippe de Villiers said that “The victory was stolen and that Raymond Domenech should make official excuses.” François Hollande (former President of the Socialist Party) said that the hand ball was “a dangerous attack on sport ethic”. Only the Green Party Leader Daniel Cohn Bendit said that “Thierry Henry’s hand ball was luck, but that’s how football is.”
OU COULDN’T help but sense the muted celebrations of the French support as a timid rendition of “Allez les bleus” echoed around the Stade de France. The final whistle had gone, automated fireworks and ribbon explosions drifted over the tricolour-coated tiers. But even these could not mask the lingering stench of injustice. Trappatoni and his troops had executed a perfect game on the world stage, a one-nil away win in Paris, only to see a flick of the hand steal away their dream and gift it to the French. But where can we direct our sense of frustration and injustice? Is it Thierry Henry? Is it FIFA? Or is it the bad karma of the FAI as so subtly put forward by Roy Keane? Let me first start with public enemy number one. Thierry Henry, previously portrayed as a charming, clean-cut man who sells us razors and delightful little French cars, has finally allowed Diego Maradona to share the burden of handball shame. However, in branding Henry a cheat we must also narrow our judgement to just one element of his part in the goal. Aside from pulling off a manoeuvre that would be illegal in volleyball, the truly calculating crime lay in his jubilant and deceitful celebration that followed. This does not mean to say that we would expect a Robbie Fowler-type confession to the officials, but in such a blatant felony one would usually see some sort of hesitancy or prolonged look at the referee before joining in the revelry with his teammates. Unfortunately it was this grossly dishonest reaction that left the officials with no reason to question the validity of the goal, and no reason for the Irish public to give Henry a reprieve. But what of his generous afterthoughts, say the nostalgic Arsenal fans? Of these I am prepared to be cynical as well. Having initially admitted his guilt over his Twitter page, Henry then went into PR overdrive to ensure that he regained some public support and the support of his sponsors. Henry’s “brave” decision to call for a replay would almost certainly have been done in the knowledge that FIFA (with whom he had been in constant contact since the game) would reject this idea. He could have promised Ireland the world in the sound knowledge he was spending the summer in South Africa. His other significant statement was to claim that
Results and fixtures
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Edward Tinsley Contributing Writer
Pts 19 19 18 9 8 6 5 4 -2
Home Team Templeogue 1 Naas 1 Mt Pleasant 1 Castleknock 1 Westwood Leopardstown
Score 3-0 1-3 3-0 2-1 1-2
Away Team Trinity 1 Trinity 1 Trinity 1 Trinity 1 Trinity 1
FLOODLIGHT C2 SC Date 12/10/09 19/10/09 28/10/09 02/11/09
Home Team Naas 1 Carrickmines 2 Blackrock 1 Naas 2
Score 1-3 2-1 1-2 2-1
Away Team Trinity 1 Trinity 1 Trinity 1 Trinity 1
Pts 26 20 18 17 15 11 9 9 8 8 8 5 0
TRINITY NEWS December 1, 2009
THE COMMENTARY BOX
ALEXANDRA FINNEGAN MELODRAMA IN SPORT WHO DOESN’T remember the World Cup finals in France? The second round of the competition, England vs. Argentina, that fateful foul and the dreaded red card. The match finished in a draw, and England were eliminated in a penalty shootout. Beckham of course was the easiest scapegoat and so received a nation’s blame for their country’s elimination. He became the easy target of abuse and criticism. The Daily Mirror went as far as to print a dartboard with a picture of his face conveniently where the bullseye is meant to be. Beckham received death threats and was branded the evil villain. All over losing his temper – tut tut. This kind of fan-reaction is commonplace in the sporting arena. An over-charged, testosterone-fuelled audience wait with held breath to see whether the hero will save the day, or whether the evil genius will triumph. These exaggerated emotions, stereotypical characters and interpersonal conflicts make up the genre of melodrama. Melodrama is most often found within the context of theatre, film and television and tends to feature a limited number of stock characters: most notably, the hero, the villain, the heroine and an aged parent who engage in a sensational plot. Whilst you may not necessarily think to compare Shakespeare with football, the similarities are actually very surprising. If the Capulets and the Montagues had decided to form their own football teams, would the rivalry be any different from that between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid? The two main houses of Verona competing against each other could be compared to a fight to the death in La Legua. Whilst Cristiano Ronaldo clashing with Dani Alves may not be as linguistically elegant as, say, the clash of words between “The Prince of Cats” Tybalt and Romeo, it can still be as forceful. Eva Gonzalez as “The Queen of the Spanish WAGs” – the equivalent of England’s Victoria Beckham - might fit the part of Juliet quite nicely, though I’m not sure if Juliet ever won “Miss Verona”, or was ever a TV hostess or a model, so Gonzalez may trump her in those particular fields. Eva’s good looks matched with Iker Casillas’ feisty personality makes for a suitably melodramatic love story and unlike Romeo and Juliet, theirs is set for a happy ending. I don’t want to rule out tragedy completely though. Whilst on the lower end of the scale, tears, screaming and fighting are not uncommon at a football match, things can escalate quickly and in some terrible cases, we are left with what looks like the final scene from Hamlet. The Heysel Stadium Disaster is the obvious example – thirty-nine people dead and over six-hundred injured before the 1985 European Cup Final held in Brussels. About an hour before the scheduled kick-off, a large and rowdy group of Liverpool fans were said to breach the fence separating them from big rivals, Juventus. The result was a stampede in which many were crushed to death against a concrete retaining wall. Shockingly, the game was still played despite the disaster in order to “prevent further violence”. It was labelled “the darkest hour in the history of the UEFA competitions”. In light of situations like this, one can’t help concluding that perhaps melodrama is best left for the theatre. Romeo and Juliet can commit suicide time and time again but at the end of the show, the actors will get up, and walk away. For those fans that lost their lives in the Heysel Disaster, there are no second chances. And what for, you may ask? All for a game.
Six to the play-off Frederik Rasmussen Staff Writer AS WE move into the month of December, the play-off picture in the NFL is distinctly murky, as there are many contenders for a limited amount of spots, making it all the more compelling to watch how things unfold. Not long ago everyone was singing the praises of Josh McDaniels and his Denver Broncos, who after opening the season with six straight wins, subsequently went on a four game skid before a 26-6 win on Thanksgiving Day over the Giants. The Broncos had been the top defense in the league, but in the subsequent four games they were outscored 117-37. The decline of the team reached a real low point in week 11 in the resounding loss to the Chargers, when RB Knowshon Moreno and WR Brandon Marshall had a bust-up on the sidelines after Moreno had fumbled the ball at the Chargers goal-line. The Chargers have found their stride at the same time as the Broncos have stumbled. Led by clutch-performer QB Philip Rivers, the team has also regained some of its swagger on defense, with OLB Shawne Merriman registering four sacks in his last four games. Last season, the Chargers climbed out of a 4-8 hole, while the Broncos collapsed, to take the division. That “eight-game” swing was the biggest turnaround in NFL divisional history and the “Bolts” will be aiming to strike twice. The Cincinnati Bengals lost 20-17 in dramatic fashion to the Raiders in week 11. They have since “swept” their division - beating each of their rivals home and away - but a loss against a team as dismal as the Raiders could be the exposition of some fatal flaws. The Steelers and Ravens will plough on but the AFC North is not looking as strong as it did a few weeks ago. Coinciding with the Bengals’ disastrous loss to the Raiders, the Steelers lost 24-27 in overtime to the Chiefs in Kansas and the Ravens lost at home 15-17 to the undefeated Colts. The Ravens’ loss is the least shocking, as it was against a team far superior to both the Raiders and Chiefs, but the Ravens spurned great opportunities in the red-zone and had to settle for field goals. It is not every day that a team holds a Manning-led Colts team to 17 points and the Ravens should have taken advantage of it. With that loss, the Steelers look to have the most realistic chance of challenging for
the division title. Many were predicting that all three of these teams could make the playoffs but, as seen before, the perceptions of teams can change rapidly in the NFL in a single week. Jostling with the Steelers and the Ravens for the play-offs are the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since starting the season with two losses, the Jaguars then went 6-2, slowly climbing their way into contention when everyone’s eyes were fixed on the other contenders. The recent success of the Jaguars is due to the outstanding performance of RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who leads the league in touchdowns, with 13, and got the 74 yards (+1) to give him his first 1000-yard rushing season. As of late, QB David Garrard is also protecting the football. An earlier candidate to challenge for a play-off place behind run-away leaders the Colts was the Houston Texans team, now at 5-6 after losing three games in a row. The Texans were looking increasingly impressive, but let the Colts off the hook in their division match-up in week nine, as Texans’ K Kris Brown, who had already hit a 56-yard field goal earlier in the game, missed from 42 yards out as time expired. This time the Texans gave up a 17 point lead - last year the Colts had scored 21 unanswered points in the last quarter to overhaul them and their late rally this time saw them become the first team in NFL history to win five successive games after trailing into the fourth quarter. Houston’s next game will be a last-chance shootout against division rival Jaguars to keep in the chase for a wild-card. The division is in the safe hands of the Colts, who also look like a lock for the number-one seed after a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Patriots in week ten, escaping with a 35-34 win. As for the Patriots, they still look firmly in control of the AFC East, with a hapless cast of challengers without a winning record between them. The Patriots easily disposed of the Jets 31-14 in their week 11 showdown in Foxboro. The Dolphins are not completely out of the playoff picture, but they are without RB Ronnie Brown, the star of their “wildcat” offense, for the rest of the year. On top of that, they have the inexperienced Chad Henne at quarterback. The Dolphins very much rely on the wildcat offense to win the games, as well as the recently deployed “pistol” offense, led by QB Pat White. On top of that, Miami faces a tough schedule with another divisional
game at home to the Patriots. After that, they face road games against the Jaguars, Titans and finally the Steelers, with a home game against Houston before that. Only time will tell if all that adversity proves too much for the Dolphins. In the NFC, it is not clear which teams are sure of a berth in the playoffs. The Cowboys (8-3) sit atop the NFC
“[the Colts’] late rally this time saw them become the first team in NFL history to win five successive games after trailing into the fourth quarter...” East but it is well known that this team has a tendency of having a meltdown even as the temperatures drop - they haven’t won a playoff game since 1996. Although they looked impressive in their Thanksgiving win over the Raiders, in the previous two games they only scored seven points in each game. The month of December will truly test the mettle of this team, as they face Giants, Saints and Redskins on the road, as well as a home game against the Chargers. As for the rest of the division, the Giants reverted back to their poor form in the dismal loss to the Broncos on Thanksgiving. After an inspiring 34-31 overtime win over the Falcons, in which Giants’ QB Eli Manning threw for a season-high 384 yards, the Giants surrendered three turnovers as the offense stumbled. The Giants have the weapons to make a push for the play-offs, but their running game, led by Brandon Jacobs, still fails to reach the heights of the two previous seasons, and the infamous pass-rush attack still flatters to deceive. Do not count the Giants out just yet, but at the moment they are hobbling on one leg. The Eagles (7-4) currently look like the best challenger to the Cowboys, but they have been extremely inconsistent as of late. Following a convincing 4017 win over the Giants in week 8, the Eagles followed that with consecutive losses to the Cowboys and Chargers. In week 11 they scored a less than convincing win over the stuttering Bears to keep themselves in the playoff picture and followed that up with a tight
win over the Redskins. Despite the solid performances of QB Donovan McNabb and rookie WR DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia will hope that franchise RB Brian Westbrook returns soon, as he is the biggest offensive weapon on the team, an equal threat in the running and passing game. The NFC East is widely recognised as one of the strongest divisions in the league, but this season none of the teams currently in play-off contention have yet to convince people of their championship credentials. The NFC North, South and West all look to be decided with regards to the destination of the division crown, as the Vikings (10-1), Saints (10-0 before Monday night’s much-hyped hosting of the Patriots) and Cardinals all have insurmountable leads. In the Cardinals’ division, the NFC West, none of the rest are even close to play-off contention, all with losing records. In the NFC North, the Packers have slowly moved into play-off contention, currently sitting at 7-4 after beating the Lions 34-12 on Thanksgiving. Aaron Rodgers is having a phenomenal season, with 3,136 passing yards and 22 touchdown passes. However, he continues to hold on to the football for too long, and take too many sacks. This could seriously hurt them in the play-offs were they to make it that far, as other teams such as the Eagles, Cowboys, Giants and Saints have particularly potent pass-rushes. Then there are the 6-5 Atlanta Falcons, losers of four out of their last six games. But the Falcons’ demise was in a tough schedule that involved playing four out of five games on the road, losing at Dallas, at New Orleans, at Carolina and at the Giants, in overtime. With the following three games at home, the Falcons started off a crucial stretch with a win over the Buccaneers and will have to step it up against the Eagles and Saints. In total, four of their last six games are at home, with another home game against the Bills, sandwiched between road games against the faltering Jets and the equally dismal Buccaneers. As always the NFL remains exciting to the very last play. No doubt the playoff hopes of several teams might be determined by a single play, or dubious refereeing decision. Now it is time for teams to make the final push, and according to NFL wisdom, teams that finish strong in December are the teams that start fast in the post-season. Things are only just hotting up.
Punting pointers: Ten to follow Ruby Walsh will be hoping for more success when partnering Kauto Star in the King George on St Stephens’s day. Eric Cullinane Staff Writer THE CHRISTMAS Period is one of the busiest times of the year as regards the National Hunt season, including races like the Grade 1 Tingle Creek and the King George VI chase. The following list consists of horses to follow over the winter period who will ensure, I hope, that our wallets are full to the brim for Rag Week in February.
BIGZEB Probably one of the most talented chasers in the country at the moment, he has a huge chance in the Tingle Creek next weekend. He was mightily impressive in his seasonal reappearance at Navan under a supremely confident ride by Barry Geraghty and should come on for that run.
KAUTO STAR The stable star of the all-conquering Paul Nicholls yard, his primary target before Cheltenham will be the King George VI chase at Kempton on St Stephens’s day. Like Big Zeb, he will undoubtedly go off at short odds but he is the clear form pick. He has won the race three years in a row and seems to be virtually unbeatable around Kempton.
DIAMOND HARRY The Nick Williams 6yo went into many people’s notebooks after an imperious performance a fortnight ago at Haydock. He was carrying top weight
against a decent field and won hard held by two lengths and is likely to be the flag bearer for the stable this season.
PLANET OF SOUND Representing the Philip Hobbs yard, he lost nothing in defeat to Alberta’s Run at Ascot last time out. The son of Kayf Tara was conceding six pounds to the eventual winner and ran on well in the late stages of that race. He had top class performers like Voy por Ustedes and Schindler’s Hunt behind him so the form looks rock solid.
The much talked about Howard Johnson hurdler has yet to register a win this season after being cruelly brought down on his debut at Market Rasen. Mille Chief has a preference for good, good to soft going which may be difficult to find at this time of year but he is without doubt a nice prospect.
STARLUCK This classy individual was an unlucky second to Mr. Thriller a fortnight ago after the going went against him which indeed highlighted his stamina issues. With his preferred good ground and optimum trip, this smart hurdler will prove hard to beat.
Another talented Willie Mullins bumper horse who has taken kindly to obstacles, he is sure to prove difficult to beat after an eye-catching display at Punchestown in mid-November. He is already prominent in the Ballymore Properties Novice Hurdle market at Cheltenham in March and is highly regarded within the stable.
VOLER LA VEDETTE
Quel Esprit’s stablemate Sports Line is one of the lesser talked about horses in Mullins yard but has undoubted ability. What should be noted is that he is proven on heavy ground which is forecasted in Ireland for the next few weeks and partnered by the excellent Ruby Walsh, he is sure to go close in his next race.
Owned by JP McManus whose horses should always be respected, this smart prospect has won his first two starts to date. He represents the brilliant Nicky Henderson whose stable is currently in outstanding form. Having adapted well to hurdles with fluent jumping to the fore, he is set to keep up Henderson’s excellent strike rate with novice hurdlers this season.
Currently one of the best mares in training, her form was given a major boost after Go Native’s facile victory in the Fighting Fifth hurdle last weekend. She beat Go Native by a staggering 13l on her last outing at Punchestown and should be regarded in all her races this season.
YEAR IN REVIEW SPORT, P21
Boxing squad win junior championships
» Combination of wins and losses make Trinity the overall victor » Squad progressed to more total finals than any other universities across all weight classes Edward Fitzgerald Contirubting Writer THIS YEAR’S Junior Intervarsity Boxing Championships were held in Drimnagh Boxing Club between the 27th and 29th of November. Only boxers with five fights or less are eligible to enter, so the tournament is a chance to gain some experience for young boxers before big events such as the Colours match. After weeks of bruising training, the boxing team held high hopes as the tournament began. The first bouts were held on Friday evening. First to fight was Seth Bromley (67kg) who, although losing on a split decision, fought well but could not land enough point-scoring punches. John Duffy in the 75kg class came out on the wrong side of a close fight with his opponent from Cork IT. He held his own and landed some nice left hooks in the first two rounds; however this was not enough as his defence began to slip in the last round. Although losing, David Pierce at 81kg performed admirably in his first confrontation. After surviving an early onslaught, he found his feet and looked as though he could make a contest of it.
A powerful combination by his opponent from Cork IT at the end of the second forced Trinity’s corner to throw the towel in before the start of the third. Andy Whitney scored a great victory in the 85kg quarter-final. Using his jab to good effect, he finished the strongest to win in his first ever match. In the semi-final on Saturday, he put up a good fight in all three rounds but his opponent from DIT proved to be too strong, Whitney losing by unanimous decision. In his 71kg semi-final, Ronan Murtagh used his superior reach to good effect in the first round, landing some good left hooks against his opponent from UCC. However the referee controversially gave him an injury count in the third round which may have proved to be the difference in a nip-and-tuck contest, with Murtagh losing by split decision. Light welterweight Jean-Jacques Herr boxed impressively in his two fights over the weekend. The Frenchman’s lightning combinations were too much for his opponent from UCC who refused to get up for the second round of the quarter-final. In the semi-final he put up a very energetic fight against his opponent from Tralee and sailed
through to the final by unanimous decision. Due to the large entry the final had to be postponed for two weeks. Luke Gordon, 91kg, stopped his opponent from UCC at the end of the second after landing some powerful right hooks in his quarter-final. In a very close semi-final he held on to win by majority decision although tiring. His Galway opponent proved too strong for Trinity’s man in the final, with the referee stopping the match in the second round. Brian Feehily fought well in the flyweight final, trading punches with his opponent from UCC in the first round. However, fatigue began to show in the second round and the referee called the match to a close after Trinity’s man was on the wrong end of some powerful punches. Stephen Gillen became the bantamweight champion after convincingly outpointing R. Crowley. The UCD man launched an early onslaught but Gillen’s superior fitness and skills were the difference at the end of this entertaining bout. Although a very even lightweight semi-final, Luke Healy won by unanimous decision thanks to his ability
MATCH STATS THE TEAM: Clockwise from top: Feehily in the 51kg final; a battered but victoius Gibbons after his 57kg final; and Healy, on the left, after a narrow defeat to Clandon in the 60kg final. to land cleaner shots, an impressive showing in his first competitive fight. In a very close final he lost a majority decision to experienced UCD fighter T. Clandon; Healy did well to get inside his tall opponent’s long jab and many in the crowd disagreed with the judges’ decision. Featherweight Michael Gibbons advanced to the final with a unanimous decision victory. The lively southpaw had his lanky opponent from IT Tallaght up against the ropes and in trouble several times during the bout. Gibbons’ performance in the final thoroughly deserved the championship. His opponent from Carlow used his reach advantage well in the first round but Trinity’s “pocket rocket” battled back
during the rest of the fight and won by majority decision to the delight of the Trinity supporters. The results meant that Trinity ended the weekend as the overall champions. The boxing club’s strength in all weight divisions was evident as Trinity had by far the most finalists of all the colleges. Coach Dan Curran was delighted with the outcome “in a high standard tournament with 66 entries, most of which were of a high caliber”. Although Trinity’s team may not possess the smart tracksuits worn by rival teams, such as our nemesis over in Belfield, the budding boxers more than made up for it with their great performances and are looking forward to hosting the seniors at the end of February.
51 KG BRIAN FEEHILY 54 KG STEPHEN GILLEN 57 KG MICHAEL GIBBONS 60 KG LUKE HEALY 63.5 KG JEAN-JACQUES HERR 67 KG SETH AASIN BROMLEY 71 KG RONAN MURTAGH 75 KG JOHN DUFFY 81 KG DAVID PIERCE 85 KG ANDY WHITNEY 91 KG LUKE GORDON
Maynooth Trinity jump at the mop up chance of hosting annual intervarsities
Tomás Corrigan Staff Writer
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY Gaelic Football Club were outmuscled easily last Tuesday by a superior National University of Ireland Maynooth side in this encounter in Tallaght. Coming off the back of a convincing win against University of Ulster Coleraine, Trinity entered the game on a three game winning streak and confidence levels were visibly high. However they were outclassed in every department by a well-drilled Maynooth side and were it not for some wayward shooting from Maynooth in the opening quarter, the margin could have been considerably more. Playing against a gale-force breeze in the first half, Trinity were up against it from the off and found themselves camped inside their own 45 metre line for the majority of the 30 minutes. Maynooth were, however, finding it difficult to convert their superior possession into scores in the opening quarter and only got the scoreboard ticking on 10 minutes after some neat forward interplay and a point coming from the highly impressive wing halfforward. The floodgates effectively opened after that score and Maynooth
went on to score an incredible 11 unanswered points. The half-time margin could easily have been more were it not for some brave goalkeeping from Trinity netminder Daragh Bryne. Maynooth’s corner-forward found himself in behind the Trinity defence with the goal at his mercy but found his effort thwarted by the Kilmacud man. Chances were at a premium for Trinity in the first half, the best of which fell to Eddie Delahunt. The Kildare man found himself in acres of space but his shot was blocked by a Maynooth defender and they went in at the half-time interval a staggering 11 points to the good. With the breeze now at their backs, Trinity sought to reduce the deficit right from the beginning of the second half. However, it was Maynooth who were to strike first, this time with a goal and the game was effectively ended as a contest. Substitute Luke Turley opened Trinity’s account with a point but Maynooth responded, a mis-hit shot found a Maynooth forward with an empty net in which to score his side’s second goal of the game. Trinity forwards were finding it difficult to penetrate the Maynooth defence, but after a superb knockdown by their powerful full-forward, Tomás Corrigan found himself one-on-one with the keeper only to see his left-footed shot blocked by the Maynooth ‘keeper. Corrigan knocked over two routine frees and Paddy McNulty tapped over another but it wasn’t enough and Maynooth ran out comfortable winners.
Orla McManus Contributing Writer THE ANNUAL “Trampoline Intervarsities” was to be held by University College Cork (UCC) this year, as had been decided around last Easter. The Trampoline Club of UCC spent many months preparing for and organising the event which was to involve clubs from Belfast, Limerick, Cork and Dublin. However on Friday, 20th November, the very day all the clubs were to travel to Cork, it was established that the competition could not be held by the university due to unexpected, severe floods. The Mardyke Arena Sports Centre, which was to be the main Venue for the competition, was completely flooded, resulting in thousands of euros worth of damage. However no-one was in favour of cancelling the entire competition, and so within a few hours of hearing the disappointing news from Cork, a new venue had been found. Through the combined efforts of the Dublin
trampoline clubs - that is, those from UCD, NUI Maynooth, DCU, TCD - and indeed the co-operation from the other participating clubs, it was decided that the Dublin University Trampoline Club would host Intervarsities 2009. The frantic pace at which the event was re-located was impressive as the committees and members of each club worked together to ensure that one of the main competitions of the year would not be cancelled. By Friday evening Trinity held a general warm-up for some of the clubs and at 10am Saturday the trampolines were set up and ready to go for the day’s activities. Judging panels were organised for each category which included Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Elite for both men and women. The competition ran very smoothly and lasted until 5pm as everyone from the seven clubs - Queen’s University Belfast, University of Limerick, University College Dublin, University College Cork, Dublin City University, NUI Maynooth and Dublin University - performed their Set and
Voluntary routines. In total there were over 120 competitors, 20 of whom were from Trinity. Queen’s University Belfast took home the shield as the overall winners. Trinity’s team came 7th out of the 12 competing. Trinity’s club performed extremely well considering that, for many, this was the first time they had competed in trampolining, having only trained in the sport for a few months. Special congratulations to Jim O’Hagan who came second in the Intermediate Men category. Trinity has never hosted a Trampoline event of this scale before and so the success of this competition is sure to confirm the capability of Dublin University Trampoline Club to organise Intervarsities in future years. The event could not have taken place without the combined efforts of all the participating clubs from across the country. Thanks to the Trinity Sports Centre staff and the Department of Sport who were so accommodating all weekend.
The Main Hall of the sports centre was transformed into the event’s venue following flooding in Cork.